GUIWAHATI: Various gardens managements in the State owe Rs 222 crores dues in terms of paying wages, Provident Fund (PF) and gratuity to tea workers.
Informing this to the Assam Assembly, Labour Welfare Minister Sanjay Kishan said that the State government has filed various cases and issued notices to the erring gardens for clearance of the dues. He also said that the hearing of such cases are being conducted at the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Courts, Deputy Commissioners (DCs) Court and Labour Courts in different districts.
Kishan also said that an amount of Rs 222 crore remains to be paid to the workers by the management of 15 gardens across the State. The amount includes Rs 77.25 crore as wages, Rs 135 crore as PF, and Rs 10 crore as gratuity.
The defaulting tea gardens are Cinnamara, Sycotta, Naginijaan, Deepling, Rajabarrie, Negheriting, Rungamatty, Messamara, Amluchkie, Dijovalley, Loongsoong, Bholaguri, Longai, Isabheel and Vidyanagar.
The Minister further said that the government normally issues a warning first to the erring gardens to clear the dues to the tea workers. In case the warning is ignored repeatedly by the gardens, the government files cases and takes other legal actions, he said.
Kishan further said that 11.80 lakh workers are engaged in the 1,157 tea gardens registered in Assam. Kishan further said that in addition to the registered gardens, there are 1.01 lakh small tea gardens across.
Kishan — who also holds the portfolio of Welfare of Tea Tribes — said that the tea gardens have ceiling surplus land of 7,451 bighas. He pointed out that the government has acquired the surplus land and distributed land pattas to 5145 tea workers.
There are four-member committees headed by the ADCs (Revenue) in the districts to acquire ceiling-surplus land. The committees will distribute land pattas of such lands among the landless tea workers.