By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Oct 3: Desperate to regain lost ground of the Congress in the tea belts, Chief Mnister Tarun Gogoi today asked all tea companies to pay 20 per cent puja bonus to the tea workers "which is their due".
"It is our duty to see that the tea workers' interests are protected and they get their due in time," Gogoi said, adding that the tea companies which have not decided as yet to pay 20 per cent bonus should make their stand clear to avoid any unrest or resentment.
“When the loss making Assam Tea Corporation Limited can dispense 20 per cent puja bonus, other tea companies should also do the same for the benefit of tea workers,” he said.
Gogoi has been making repeated attempts to woo tea voters, which had long been a traditiol vote bank of the party until the last Lok Sabha elections.
Waking up to the erosion of support from the tea community, the Chief Minister over the last few weeks has announced a slew of sops for them.
The Chief Minister announced housing facilities for tea workers though the garden magements have been providing it traditiolly.
While medical facilities in the gardens are dismal, the government recently announced setting up of Bagan Bazars – shops which will provide nutritiol food to tea workers at subsidized rates.
Tea tribes complain that years of neglect by the Congress government has disillusioned the community, which was manifested in the last Lok Sabha elections.
Even senior Congress leaders from the community have alleged that under-development in the tea belts has led to rising Maoist activities in the areas.