Dibrugarh: The issue of paying bonus to the tea garden labourers seems to have created a sense of uncertainty and insecurity among the tea labourers.
On one hand, Consultative Committee of Plantation Association, a consortium of tea estate proprietors, had sent out indications that as the tea industry was undergoing financial conundrums, they would not be able to pay 20 per cent bonus ahead of Durga Puja to the workers. On the other hand, organizations representing the interests of the tea garden workers, including Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, AATSA and ASHA, among others, have been demanding a bonus of 20 per cent for quite some time.
Apprehending a tense situation which may arise out of such a clash of interests, government has interfered to keep things from going untoward. In a recent meeting held at the DC office with respect to the bonus issue, and which was attended by members from the two opposed groups as well as government officers, a call was made to settle the issue amicably without resorting to any form of violence.
The Additional Labour Commissioner appealed to the planters to announce the bonus in keeping with the government orders by September 5 and pay the same by September 20. Interestingly, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had already ordered the police administration to stay alert to prevent any law-and-order situation from arising in the tea estates as a result of the ongoing bonus issue.