The demonetisation took a heavy toll on Wednesday when two tea gardens in Alipurduar and a jute mill in North 24 Parganas put up suspension of work notice after failing to pay wages to the workers.
The workers gathered at the tea gardens early Wednesday morning and found that the management had put up a notice declaring suspension of work. The managers have left the tea garden. The workers alleged that for the past one month they had not received their wages.
Due to the situation, it had become impossible to run their families. The grocer’s shop had initially given food stuff and other items on credit but recently they had also stopped as the workers had failed to clear their dues.
Dibakar Sharma, a worker said: “For one month we have not received our wages. The situation has gone out of our hands. Our family members are starving. The owners had told us that the situation would improve within 15 days but after that they remained quiet and left us to starve.”
Finding no other option, the owners had looked for workers and agreed to pay them under 100 days work. But failing to get money from banks they decided to close the tea garden till the financial situation improves.
Suraj Oraon said: “Narendra Modi has made us beggars. We have lost our jobs and now no one is taking any responsibility.”
The owners said they had failed to get supply of money from the banks. “We are allowed to withdraw Rs 50,000 per week from the current account. But the amount is not sufficient. We need more money to pay wages of our workers. Finding no other option we have declared suspension of work.”
Mohun Sharma, sabhadhipati of Alipurduar Zilla Parishad said the owners could have talked to the ZP and the District Magistrate before taking such a hasty decision. “The owners could have talked to us. But such behaviour with the workers is uncalled for. I condemn their attitude.”
Suspension of work notice was also put up on the gate of a jute mill in North 24 Parganas. The owners expressed their inability to pay wages to the workers. The workers alleged that their condition had become worse every day.
Chote Lal Singh said: “We have no more food grains stored in our homes and our spouses and children are starving. Under such a situation closing of the mill is a major blow. We really do not know how to survive.”