Uncertainty looms large over tea workers’ future

From Our Correspondent

Silchar, Feb 17: Fate of tea labourers working in the Bhuvan Valley tea estate is still uncertain, as their problems have not been solved yet. Since there is nobody to take care of the estate, tea leaves have dried and become lifeless. There is none to look after the valley and it wears a deserted look. It should be mentioned here that both the owner and the mager opened the tea estate for a while, yet, no bonus was paid to the labourers. At present, there are 478 permanent labourers, 22 staffs and causal staffs. Even, their PF amount has not been cleared till date, which has added to their miseries.

The assistant PF commissioner’s staff, quite uniquely, has hanged a notice on the gate of the tea estate, where it has been clearly written that owners should clear all the dues or else labourers will resort to other means, with prior permission from the state government. Moreover, persons who have retired in 2008 are yet to get their dues cleared. In this regard, they have requested the government to take necessary steps. Last year, a meeting was also held at Bhuvan Valley, which was attended by P S Hallowan, assistant labour commissioner, Dinth Baroi, assistant general secretary, Barak Cha Shramik Union, J R Lalsim, ADC Cachar and in-charge, SDO (Civil) Lakhipur, along with tea labourers, Bagan Panchayat and staffs of the estate. They discussed at length about the re-opening of the tea estate, weekly payment and bonus. The labourers opined, if the owner of the estate fails to clear their due on time, he should sell and auction the tea estate. However, no fil decision has been taken yet.