By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, January 8: The Gauhati High Court has stayed the government’s decision to suspend ration supply to the tea gardens.
Taking up a writ petition filed by the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS), a bench of the court headed by Justice AK Goswami on Wednesday placed under suspension the order suspending the supply of ration.
The court has fixed January 21 as the next date of hearing.
The ACMS has made four respondents in the cases – the Government of India, Government of Assam, Director of Food and Civil Supplies (Assam) and Food Corporation of India.
The ruling is a reprieve to the tea garden magements who had already started buying ration from the market.Following a decision by the Consultative Committee of Planters Association, the tea companies had started buying ration from the open market at double the price for the first quarter of the year – January to March.
The tea gardens are paying more than double the price now. Earlier, the ration was provided by the government (from the PDS stock) at Rs 800/900 per quintal. Now, the gardens are buying it at Rs 2,000/2,200 from the market.
The Centre has stopped the ration supply from PDS stock contending that under no provisions are the labourers entitled for the subsidized ration. The Centre had advised the tea companies to procure the ration from the market. So far, the garden authorities have been procuring ration items from the State government through Food Corporation of India. Rice and flour (all PDS items) have been provided at the rate of 55 paise per kg to the labourers. About 12,500 MT of ration are distributed among 19,28,719 tea labourers per month in the State.
A labourer’s family is entitled for 6.92 kg of ration every week.
Earlier, there were reports that the Consultative Committee for Planters Association (CCPA) was also perplexed at the circumstances and had discussed the possibility of approaching the court if a solution is not arrived at soon.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has welcomed the court order and said the State government had been requesting the Centre to continue the ration supply.