Congress wooing tea votes again
CM warning to tea gardens: Implement Plantation Labour Act, 1951, provide minimum wages and facilities
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, April 23: After the rejection by tea community voters in the Lok Sabha elections last year, the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government is taking the issue of welfare of tea community very seriously.
Dispur has made it clear that stern action will be taken against tea garden authorities not working for the welfare of its workforce. In the last three months, 31 cases against some tea gardens were pursued by the State government for not implementing the Plantation Labour Act, 1951.
Talking to reporters here on Thursday, the Chief Minister said, “The State government is determined to implement the Plantation Labour Act, 1951 in true spirit. If some gardens don’t implement it properly, strict action will be taken against them.”
He said with lapse of the deadline given to the tea garden owners to implement the Plantation Labour Act, the government will start prosecution of defaulting gardens soon.
“The tea garden owners have failed to provide mandatory facilities to their workers. We had warned them and had extracted an assurance that all clauses of the Plantation Labour Act will be implemented within six months,” he added.
The Chief Minister revealed a State government survey of tea gardens had found the magement wanting in providing requisite facilities to workers.
There is a shortage of 43,000 houses, 57,000 sanitation facilities, 2,000 doctors, among others, in the tea gardens of the State as per the survey.
“The minimum wage of Rs 169 per day is also not being paid, in spite of assurance of implementing it by the owners,” Gogoi said.
“The government is determined to implement the Plantation Labour Act. We will not allow tea workers to be exploited. The government was a bit lenient earlier, but we will not allow any further non-implementation of any clause of the Act,” he added.