TANGLA, July 12: The last wage agreement signed between the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) and the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA), Assam Valley branch, expired on December 31 last year and till date the new wage agreement has not been signed. “The government has formed a committee but it has not taken any decision. The tea garden labourers should have got a hike of wages to Rs 350 from January 1 but contrary to that, the government has notified that the wages were hiked to Rs.167 from the existing Rs.130, that too applicable from March 1. Where will the amount of Rs 30 increment for previous two months go? Will the sum of money amounting to nearly Rs 450 crore go for electoral expenses of the saffron party in the forthcoming parliamentary election,” said Rajya Sabha MP and organizing secretary of ACMS-cum-secretary of Mangaldai branch ACMS, Santiuse Kujur at a press conference in the office of Mangaldai Branch ACMS in Tangla on Thursday.
Addressing the media persons, Kujur lamented that the State Labour Minister should have taken up the issues of the tea garden labourers but instead he acted as an agent of the tea garden management. “The saffron party had promised to hike the daily wages to Rs 350 if voted to power, but the government has betrayed the Adivasi community by failing to keep its word. The BJP had given a lollipop in the form of fake promises to the Adivasi community,” alleged Kujur.
The parliamentarian said that the Adivasi community would give the government a befitting reply in the polls. “The State government should sign a fresh wage agreement within August and make the tea garden labourers get their due wages. We demand the government to address the issue immediately,” Kujur added. Of the 792 registered tea gardens in the State, 685 are in the Brahmaputra Valley and the rest 107 are in Barak Valley. The ACMS, a registered body under the Indian Trade Union Act, has control over 685 gardens throughout Brahmaputra Valley.