Binay Tamang vows to revive shut tea gardens
Darjeeling: Binay Tamang, former chairman of the Gokhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and candidate for the forthcoming Assembly by-election from the Darjeeling constituency, has assured to
bring relief to the tea garden workers by resolving various issues ailing the tea gardens in the Hills.
"Out of the 87 tea gardens in the Hills around five are
closed. With the relentless efforts of the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union and the intervention of the GTA we managed to reopen the Risheehat Tea Estate that had been closed for 13 days. The Kanchen View Tea Estate will also open from April 29," said Tamang, who is at present on the campaign trail.
Incidentally, a cease-work strike has been declared by the management at the Kanchen View Tea Estate located in Darjeeling town. Tamang further stated that after the Model Code of Conduct is lifted a Sri Lankan Tea Company will visit the closed gardens. The company has shown interest to run these closed gardens.
"If things work out the no objection certificate will be provided to them to run the gardens. If it does not, we can have workers cooperatives to run these closed gardens. The matter has already been discussed with the state government. Things look very positive," Tamang said.
Regarding special relief for the tea garden workers who had not received wages during the 105-day bandh in 2017 in the Darjeeling Hills in the grip of political strife, Tamang
stated that that a proposal had been given and the Bengal Government's response is positive.
"During the bandh, workers had missed out on wages for 73 days. A report had been prepared and sent to the state government. Altogether Rs. 108 crore is required to pay all the workers for the bandh period. Even if not the full 73 days, we want the government and the GTA to disburse a special relief for at least 50 to 60 days. It will be a big help for the workers and their families. The state is very positive about it," Tamang said.