Accusing a section of tea garden owners of being apathetic to the condition of the labourers, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the government would take over closed or abandoned tea gardens.
During a meeting at Malbazar in Dooars, Banerjee had asked the tea garden owners, who have defaulted on wages and other dues, to “surrender the gardens to the government” so that they could be given to new takers.
“We will help those who are running the tea gardens properly. But those who are closing down the gardens all of a sudden without giving provident fund to plantation workers aren’t doing the right thing. Let them surrender the gardens. We will find new takers,” Banerjee said. She had also ordered resumption of electricity and drinking water supply in the closed tea gardens.
State minister Jyotipriyo Mullick on Thursday accused a section of tea garden owners of not providing the labourers with subsidised food material available from the government. “We are providing rice to closed tea garden workers at Rs 2 per kg. For those from working tea gardens we are providing rice at a subsidised rate,” Mullick said.