GUWAHATI: In a significant development, the Assam government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, has made several noteworthy decisions during a cabinet meeting. The most prominent announcement is the revision of the daily minimum wage for tea garden workers, benefiting laborers in both Brahmaputra and Barak valleys.
Starting from October 1, the daily minimum wage for tea garden workers in the Brahmaputra valley has been increased by Rs 18, raising it to Rs 250. Similarly, in the Barak valley, workers will now receive Rs 228 instead of the previous Rs 210.
Furthermore, Chief Minister Sarma disclosed that garden managements have been directed to provide a 20-percent bonus to workers for the upcoming Durga Puja festivities. Additionally, the government has implemented a 3-percent reservation in government jobs for tea garden workers and adivasi individuals, effective immediately. This reservation applies exclusively to the non-creamy layer.
Earlier, Leader of the Opposition, Debabrata Saikia expressed concern in the House over the problems faced by small tea growers (STGs) and the fact that some tea garden owners were selling off their tea gardens. He said that when tea gardens are sold, the tea labourers working in those tea gardens face uncertainity and a multitude of issues. State Industry and Commerce Minister Bimal Borah informed the House that there were around 762 big tea gardens in Assam and 1,25,000 STGs. He said that due to various reasons, some tea garden owners were selling off their gardens. “When new owners take over, they bring with them new ideas for the development of the tea gardens. This in turn leads to the progress of the tea labourers. Sale of tea gardens will not have any negative impact on the tea industry,” said the minister.
Regarding the STGs, Borah said that they play a pivotal role in the development of the Assam tea industry. “However, some STGs do not maintain the quality of the green tea leaves. As a result, the quality of the tea made from these green tea leaves is also not maintained. So we are laying focus on mechanization. Awards have been instituted for STGs and the government is giving subsidy to STGs to start factories. Workshops are being conducted for STGs,” said Borah.