Bengal draws plan to support closed tea garden workers

In the wake of reported death of tea garden workers, West Bengal ministers and officials met on Friday to find ways to help workers of closed tea gardens.

“The meeting was held primarily to support the closed tea garden workers. This was not about the Duncan tea estate closure, though during the discussion the matter was raised,” state agriculture minister Purnendu Basu told reporters after the meeting at the state secretariat.

He said that agriculture, labour, food, social welfare and power department ministers or senior officials were present in the meeting along with state finance minister to channelise resources to provide critical support to the closed tea garden workers like resumption of drinking water and ration and power for the workers.

The minister said that Duncan’s workers will also be entitled for the government subsidy of Rs 1,500 per month to the closed industrial workers.

Support will be critical as October-December is the most lean season for the tea industry without any production.

Basu said there are some 30 stressed or closed tea gardens in the state and the government was already trying to formulate a policy for stressed tea gardens in consultation with other state holders and agencies. However, he said takeover of tea estates which are in BIFR will be a complex affair unless the management supports and takes an exit route.


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