TINSUKIA: Pilferage of green tea leaves in Tinsukia district reached its height when miscreants cut down as many as 200 matured tea bushes in Rupai TE belonging to James Warren Tea Limited under Bagjan PS after their attempt to pilfer was foiled by the workers and police on the intervening nights of Monday-Tuesday. An unprecedented case, such incident never happened before, though pilferage of tea leaves had been a regular phenomenon which often resulted in clashes between neighbouring villagers and tea workers in the past.
The incident of pilferage is higher prior to any festival, particularly during Durga Puja. Most of the bought leaf factories that have sprung up in recent times are being fed with tea leaves either from small tea growers or pilfered leaves from corporate gardens. Due to devastating flood in that belt, most the small tea growers and villagers who have grown tea bushes in the orchards have lost their produce.
According to reports, a gang of 50 miscreants from nearby 6-7 villages entered the garden with the motive to steal tea leaves. When resisted by the night guards on duty, they attempted to kill the guards with sharp weapon. Being frightened, the guards fled and informed the garden manager who called the local police. On arrival of the police, the miscreants disappeared under the cover of darkness but resurfaced again after police left. Soon the miscreants vent their anger by savaging as many as 200 matured tea bushes in Section no 1 along with other shade trees. As the news spread, several hundred agitated workers gathered on the spot but they were restrained by the management officials and AATSA activists not to retaliate. Though the situation in the garden is under control, a tense situation prevails in nearby gardens like Tipuk TE and Digholtarang TE, according to a source.