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CITU rallies for charter of demands in Silchar

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 Dec 2017 12:00 AM GMT

From our Special Correspondent

Silchar, Dec 21: Tea workers under the banner of Akhil Bharatiya Cha Mazdoor Sangha (CITU Cachar district committee) brought out a protest rally in support of their 5 point charter of demands on Wednesday. The rally marched through the main streets of this town and converged infront of the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar. After being addressed by the leaders Sushil Choudhury, vice-president, and Gopal Bhumij, general secretary, of the Sangha, a memorandum was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, addressed to the Chief Minister of Assam. The attention of the Chief Minister was drawn to their burning issues for his kind attention and favourable action.

One of the demands related to the ever decreasing plantation area of Cumbirgram tea estate following the expansion of Kumbhirgram airport. This is one of the series of efforts of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) as well as the Airforce station of the area. The move is to acquire 150 hectares of land full of tea bushes. Leaving no scope for further expansion of tea plantation by Cumbirgram tea estate. As a consequence to it, more than 2000 workers of the tea estate have become restive and also apprehensive of their future. In the past, the AAI has taken over land from Cumbirgram tea estate four times for the development of the airport.

The present attempt is the fifth exercise at acquiring land of the same garden without giving a second thought to the future of workers and their livelihood as well as other avenues of employment. It has been stated while the workers are not against the development of airport, they feel aggrieved at the fact that they are always the victims in the me of development without making any other altertive arrangement. The memorandum focuses on the fact that the ceiling surplus land of the tea estate in question has been taken over by the government in 1973 and 1974.

The CITU Cachar district committee has demanded a halt to the process of acquiring the land of the tea estate further, considering the overall interests of the workers. In addition to that, the committee has demanded Rs.350 as per day wages for workers of both Barak and Brahmaputra Valleys. The payment of provident fund and gratuity should be made on time after retirement. It has also been stressed that the Plantation Labour Act of 1951 should be implemented in letter and spirit. Wages for holidays, parity in wages for both the valleys and immediate fixation of minimum wages for tea workers are the other demands. The Memorandum was signed by Chunilal Bhattacharjee, president of the Sangha, along with other members of the organization.

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