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Revive closed tea estates immediately, Mamta to Centre

Hasimara (West Bengal) June 28: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday urged the central government to take immediate steps regarding its bid to take over control of closed tea estates in north Bengal. On a four-day visit to north Bengal, Banerjee also said the state government was mulling reviving a number of other closed tea gardens. “Prior to the (Lok Sabha) polls, the centre had announced taking over the tea estates which are now lying closed. Their fate continues to be in a limbo. I will urge the centre to take immediate steps in the matter and ensure all the workers of these gardens get their dues and arrears,” she said after holding an administrative meeting here in Alipurduar district. The union commerce and industry ministry had on January 28 issued the notification under section 16E of the Tea Act, 1953, for taking over the magement/control of seven tea estates contending they were “maged in a manner highly detrimental to the tea industry and public interest”. While six of the estates, mely Birpara, Garganda, Lankapara, Tulsipara, Huntapara, and Dhumchipara, are run by Duncans Industries, the seventh – Demdima tea estate – belongs to Duncans but is operated by the Santipara Tea Co Ltd.

Challenging the notification, both Duncans and Santipara Tea moved the Calcutta High Court, which in March upheld the notification. “The state government has been doing all it can for the welfare of the workers of these estates. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita