GUWAHATI, April 9: Driven by the concept of equal pay for equal work, the Assam Government has decided to pay equal wage for tea garden labourers in Brahmapatra and Barak valleys.
While the daily wage in cash of a tea estate labourer in the Brahmaputra valley is Rs 137, the daily wage of such a labourer in the Barak Valley is Rs 115. This difference in wage between the labourers of both the valleys in Assam has been followed for long.
The crux of the problem lies in the fact that the wage of tea labourers is fixed by trade union leaders and garden magements, and the amount of wage fixed by the two parties get approval from the State Government. If the garden magements in the Barak Valley reach a consensus with the trade union leaders to equalize the wages of labourers in both the valleys in the State, the problem can be solved at ease. However, this is not happening as the price realization from Barak tea is much less than that of tea produced in the Brahmaputra Valley. This is the reason why the wages of tea labourers of the two valleys getting cash daily wages at different rates.
However, this cannot be taken as justified. During his poll campaign as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in 2014 rendra Modi did assure the people of the Barak Valley that such an injustice in the payment of wage to labourers in the same sector in the same State cannot b allowed. However, even after the BJP coming to power, the wage parity between tea labourers of the two valleys in the State has not been achieved.
Meanwhile, State Labour and Employment Minister Pallab Lochan Das, while talking to The Sentinel, said: “The disparity in the existing minimum wages of tea garden workers of Barak and Brahmaputra valleys will be wiped out by fixing a uniform wage rate. We’re going to notify it soon.”