TINSUKIA: Almost all tea gardens in Tinsukia district numbering 122, besides several hundred small gardens managed by Small Tea Growers, resumed operations from Sunday itself after Tinsukia district administration gave the nod to open the gardens with strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.
A meeting held at DC’s office on Saturday with Sanjay Kishan, Minister of State for Labour and Tea Tribes Welfare in the chair, in presence of Deputy Commissioner of Tinsukia, Bhaskar Pegu, Superintendent of Police of Tinsukia, Shiladitya Chetia, SP Sadiya and other stakeholders like ABITA, TAI, Small Tea Growers Association, ACMS, BCMS, Bought Leaf Factory, ATTSU and AATTSU laid down strict guidelines and SOP keeping in view the containment of coronavirus outbreak in tea gardens, though another prime stakeholder, the registered trade organization of tea employees’ union, the Assam Chah Karmachari Sangha (ACKS), was allegedly kept outside the purview the crucial meeting.
The meeting decided that the garden management and others would strictly follow social distancing in all activities applicable to tea gardens-big and small, gardens managed by small tea growers, including bought leaf factories. All establishments within the gardens, including ration shops, must undertake sanitization and to keep provision for soap and water as mandatory precautions.
The meeting further decided to engage 50 per cent workforce and to operate till 3.30 pm. However, factories within the premises are allowed to operate beyond the specific time with minimum staff/workers within the gardens. With the banning of in and out migration of labourers, the VDPs, Line Chowkidars and Sardars are to be engaged to restrict the movement.
In order to restrict the movement of vehicles, it was decided that the vehicles carrying the tea leaves to bought leaf factories must obtain pass from the local police stations. The garden management has been asked to provide mask and other health accessories to officials and workers of the gardens. All gardens will provide ration and wages as per norms and garden official hospital in-charge will submit indent for medicine requirement to the Joint Director of Health, Tinsukia.
The Deputy Commissioner requested garden management to consider payment of full wages to the workers for two AATSA sponsored bandh days- 23.3.2020 and 24.3.2020. A committee will be formed by the garden management with Welfare Officer or Assistant Manager as assistant nodal officer while the Circle Officers (Executive Magistrate) of respective Revenue Circles will act as Nodal Officers of the committee. Any violation of the guidelines may necessitate closure of the garden, the DC warned.