From our Correspondent
DIGBOI, April 6: Activists of the All Adivasi Students’ Association (AASA) of Digboi and Margherita units took to the streets in Digboi on Monday demanding immediate fulfilment of various demands. They shouted slogans against Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Paban Singh Ghatowar and resorted to road blockade at Charali police point at Digboi in Tinsukia district.
According to the representatives of the body, they were opposed to the recent wage pact and demanded scrapping of the new wage deal for tea workers done last month by ACMS. In a three-year bilateral agreement signed by ACMS and the Consultative Committee of Plantations Associations (CCPA), Assam Valley Branch, it was decided to increase the daily wage of tea workers by Rs 43 in three phases.
The agitators demanded immediate cancellation of the wage pact, terming the pact as a “total sellout” to the planters. AASA Margherita president Ramanuj Lacra said that the amount of hike agreed according to the pact was “very low” going by the present economic scerio. “The agreement proposes only an increase of Rs 43 in the daily workers’ wages and that too over a period of three years,” Gowala said, adding that ACMS had, as usual, taken the side of garden owners though it was an organization which claimed to be representing the workers.
The AASA leader said that the increase in the wages should have been above the minimum daily wages prescribed by the State Government in January, which was Rs 169.
Announcing that the student organization would resort to continuous agitatiol programmes demanding scrapping of the pact and fulfilling their long-pending demands, AASA Digboi general secretary Jakub Kunduwar said, “We will hold protests and keep flaying the five tea producers’ associations, which constitutes the CCPA, Assam Valley Branch, with whom the ACMS had signed the pact quite detrimental to the interest of the tea garden workers.”
The protesters submitted a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister and then the blockade was lifted.