ATTSA seeks CM support; says Tea gardens must pay workers full wages
GUWAHATI: The Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association (ATTSA) has sought CM Sarbananda Sonowal's intervention in making sure that tea garden workers must get their full wages amid lockdown caused due to coronavirus pandemic.
The association said that the CM must take action against Golaghat based tea planters’ association for publishing "false reports" citing Rs 1200 crore loss for tea industry amid lockdown. This was done to evade payment to workers, the association claims.
A few days ago, Sonowal had visited Bokpara Tea Estate in Dibrugarh district on Friday and interacted with the female workers of the garden who were engaged in plucking tea leaves. The Chief Minister informed them about the importance of wearing masks at public places and maintaining social distancing in the wake of worldwide outbreak of novel coronavirus.
The Chief Minister appreciated the garden workers for adhering to the lockdown guidelines and maintaining social distancing norm in the garden. He also distributed masks among tea garden workers.
Noteworthy that as part of State government initiative to provide masks for tea garden workers, so far 3.40 lakh three layer masks were distributed among more than 1.13 lakh tea garden workers in 177 gardens of the district.
Further in a statement today, the Chief Minister said that the State government made relaxations in the conditions during second phase of the lockdown as per Central government direction and accordingly tea gardens were allowed to carry out certain set of activities while adhering to the government guideline. The Chief Minister said that tea industry in Assam always played an important role in economic well being of the State and the State government also took several efforts to strengthen the tea sector during second phase of the lockdown.
Moreover, saying that tea garden management and workers would have to strictly follow the condition of social distancing while carrying our out plucking and processing tea leaves, the Chief Minister stated that all deputy commissioners were directed to ensure complete enforcement of the same. He also said that DCs were already instructed to form monitoring cells to supervise implementation of lockdown norms in the gardens and said that adequate steps were taken to safeguard the interests of small tea growers of the State as well.
Observing that all deputy commissioners were instructed to maintain close watch on equitable distribution of government relief among tea garden workers, the Chief Minister informed that DCs were asked to maintain close coordination with garden management and tea garden sardars for compliance of the same.