The state labour minister Malay Ghatak said in the Assembly on Tuesday that there were no closed tea gardens in the state. However, in some, the owners have declared suspension of work and it is often lifted following bipartite alliance between the owners and the workers. He was replying to a question raised by RSP MLA Biswanath Chowdhury on Tuesday.
Ghatak said the state government had given rice at Rs 2 per kg to the workers of the tea gardens and was also looking after their health. There are no cases of malnutrition reported nor has any one committed suicide, he maintained. He said the Centre had taken over the tea gardens which used to be operated by Duncans. So far one tender has been floated to find out a player. He said in many tea gardens the owners did not deposit provident fund dues of their employees and as it is a central subject the state government could not do much against the defaulters.
It may be recalled that a delegation led by president of GNLF Mann Ghisingh , Subhas Ghishing’s son met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday and demanded that the dues of the workers worth Rs 8 by the Alchamist group be cleared at once. The tea gardens are owned by KD Singh. Ghatak said the state government was keeping a tab on the situation. He said the state government had so far taken over two companies Jessop and Dunlop and was paying salaries of the employees of these two companies.
Meanwhile, the Tea Board of India on Tuesday said it has deferred, to June 23, the start of pan India e-auction due to “some post settlement issues”.
“We have deferred the pan India e-auction for two days. There are some post settlement issues which are pending before state’s VAT authority. Industry players sought clarification. We are open to it,” Tea Board of India Chairman Santosh Sarangi said.
“With the sale number 25, the pan India e-auction process will start from June 23 in all auction centres as per the new module but the post settlement banking operation will be done as per the existing process until we sort it out,” he said.
The board in a statement said the post settlement portion of the auction would be implemented shortly after carrying out certain modifications in the system as per the feedback received from stakeholders.
There are some glitches in post sales settlement,” said Indian Tea Association’s vice chairman Azam Monem. “We sought clarification on value added tax and input tax credit and asked to redesign the payment challan,” said an industry source on condition of anonymity.