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Clear dues of retired Tea garden workers before October 1: Sapre Commission

The Justice (retd) Abhay Manohar Sapre Commission has asked ATC (Assam Tea Corporation) and ten other gardens of Golaghat and Tinsukia districts to clear the dues of retired tea garden labourers before October 1, 2021.

Tea garden workers

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  3 Sep 2021 2:07 AM GMT

SAPRE COMMISSION'S DIRECTIVE

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: The Justice (retd) Abhay Manohar Sapre Commission has asked ATC (Assam Tea Corporation) and ten other gardens of Golaghat and Tinsukia districts to clear the dues of retired tea garden labourers before October 1, 2021.

Twenty-five gardens – 15 of ATC and ten others of Golaghat and Tinsukia districts – have not cleared the arrears dues of retired tea garden labourers. Justice (retd) Sapre will arrive in the state on October 1, 2021, for the next hearing.

Based on a writ petition {WP(C) 365/2006} filed in the Supreme Court of India by the International Union of Food and Agriculture, the apex court formed the Justice (retd) Abhay Manohar Sapre Commission on January 10, 2020. , The commission is to inquire into the arrears dues of retired tea estate labourers and other problems of garden labourers in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam.

Commission Chairman Justice (retd) Abhay Manohar Sapre came to Assam on Wednesday and heard various stakeholders, including labourers' organizations, in the tea sector in the state.

The Assam Tea Tribe Students' Association (ATTSA) submitted an affidavit before the commission. The ATTSA said that the State Government had allocated Rs 99 crore for 15 ATC gardens to pay the arrears dues of retired tea garden labourers. "However, the retired labourers of ATC gardens are yet to get Rs 18 crore," the ATTSA said.

The ATTSA further said that the management of around 900 tea gardens categorized around 11.80 lakh labourers as unskilled workers and deprived them of their due rate of wages. "The tea garden managements need to categorize the workers plucking and pruning tea leaves either as skilled or semi-skilled labourers," the ATTSA said.

The affidavit also brought to light that 4,317 labourers of 37 tea estates of the state have not yet got their PF (provident fund) dues even after retirement.

In yet another revelation, the affidavit of the ATTSA said that in 420 lower primary schools under tea garden management, the teachers are working as daily wage earners – getting a wage of Rs 205 per day. It is not all. Most of the LP schools in tea gardens do not get chairs, tables, desks, blackboards and dusters adequately from the garden management, the ATTSA added.

Also Read: Fake doctors a threat to workers in tea gardens in Assam

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