Garden magements must bear burden, or pay Rs 169 daily wage if they fail: zrul
BY Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Dec 10: The government will stop providing PDS ration to tea gardens from January 1.
"From January 1, the tea garden magements will have to procure the ration by themselves," Food and Civil Supplies minister zrul Islam informed the assembly in response to a question raised by AIUDF's Gul Akhtara Begum.
The minister, however, said the tea workers will be provided subsidized ration (rice at Rs 3 per kg) when the State implements the tiol Food Security scheme. "If the garden magements cannot provide the ration to the workers, they will have to pay a daily wage of Rs 169 instead of the Rs 115 as ration is included in the wage component," the minister said.
Islam also maintained that the existing system of subsidized ration has only benefitted the tea companies and not the workers.
Under the existing system that dates back to the pre-Independence period, the tea garden magements procure subsidised wheat and rice from FCI and distribute the same amongst the garden labourers at 50-55 paise per kg.
Each labourer family of four is entitled to receive 32.56 kg of rice or wheat every month.
Around 19.3 lakh tea garden labourers and their dependants benefit from the existing system. The tea industry currently procures around 7,500 metric tonnes of rice and 5,000 metric tonnes of wheat from the FCI at Rs. 830 and Rs. 610 per quintal respectively. The prevalent market prices of rice and wheat are around Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 1,700 respectively. Industry sources said the magements will now purchase the ration from the open market.