Many tea garden workers not reporting for work in Darjeeling
Kolkata: A huge section of the workforce has not reported for work in the crisis-ridden Darjeeling tea gardens despite withdrawal of the prolonged shutdown in the Hills, a top official said.
"More than 60 percent of one lakh-odd workers of the Darjeeling tea industry have not reported for work even as the shutdown has been lifted in the hills," chairman of Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA) B Mohan said.
Owing to the shutdown, which started since mid-June, the tea bushes were covered with thick growth and needed to be pruned thoroughly, he said. Mohan said that the task could not be carried out due to massive absenteeism and plucking activity was hampered.
The association is apprehensive that the workers might have fled to Nepal or to the plains in Bengal for some gainful employment and their return to the Hills is uncertain.
"This is a major problem and the garden owners are in a fix on how to manage (the situation)," he said.
There are about 87-odd gardens in Darjeeling, the premier ones being Makaibari, Goodricke, Jungpana and Andrew Yule.