Millennium Post

3 tea gardens officially declared shut

3 tea gardens officially declared shut

Darjeeling: The West Bengal government has declared three gardens in the Darjeeling Hills officially locked out. The Government has announced Financial Assistance for Workers of Locked Out Industry (FAWLOI) for the three gardens.

The Dooteriah, Peshok and Kalej Valley Tea estates in the Darjeeling Hills have been closed since 2015 but no official lockout notice had been served.

The gardens were owned by the Alchemist group. It later changed hands to Trident. The Management had abandoned the gardens and stopped paying wages and salary so automatically the gardens closed down.

Dooteriah tea garden has 1354 workers, Kalej Valley 642 workers and Peshok 570 workers. Financial Assistance for Workers of Locked Out Industry (FAWLOI) of Rs 1,500 per month per worker has been declared by the government. It is applicable from 2015 May till October this year.

"The Joint Forum of Tea Unions have been agitating since long over the issue of declaring these gardens as lock out. We have been constantly pressing the district administration and the labour department. Finally the State Government has declared a lockout and decided to implement FAWLOI," stated Saman Pathak of the Forum.

He however stated that there is not much reason to cheer as this is not a permanent solution to the problem.

"The Government should immediately reopen the gardens and make them operational or transfer the lease to new companies who can run the gardens" demanded Pathak.

The Forum has demanded that whatever facilities the workers are entitled too should be disbursed at the earliest owing to the festive season round the corner. "We also appeal to the government

that action should be taken against the owner of the three tea gardens" retorted Amar Lama of the Forum.

"Rs. 1500 is not sufficient. The Government should add other components and pay Rs. 3000 under the FAWLOI scheme" stated Sunil Rai of the Forum

Amitava Banerjee

Amitava Banerjee

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