West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said the government was ready to run the non-functioning tea gardens of Duncans Industries Ltd in Dooars area of the state.
“If Duncan cannot run its tea estates, they can quit. We will run the tea estates,” Banerjee told a public meeting here.
The Chief Minister said she had ordered resumption of drinking water and electricity supply to the tea gardens owned by the Duncans Group.
CID has initiated a criminal case against the company, which is one of the biggest producers of tea in the Dooars.
Tea workers have alleged that 11 tea workers of the G P Goenka-owned Bagrakote tea estate had died of malnutrition in the past one month as the company had not paid its workers for the past few months. A complaint was filed with the Darjeeling district police last month, alleging cheating and criminal misappropriation of properties by the firm. The case was transferred to CID.
Inspector General (II) CID Vineet Kumar Goyal said, “The dues to the workers including certain allowances and wages have not been paid for past few months. A police case was initiated earlier on the matter and now CID has taken up the investigation.” “We have registered a case against G P Goenka and his son under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code,” he added. Duncan Industries wholetime director MH Chinoy submitted documents related to the issue during his four-hour-long meeting with CID officers at Bhavani Bhavan on Monday. The state’s health department has set up a medical camp at the estate.
The Chief Minister who is on her 4-day visit to North Bengal, on Tuesday addressed a public rally at the Parade Ground, Alipurduar, at 3 pm. She also launched the Sabuj Sathi scheme in the district. Meanwhile, it was reported that the Authorities of the Duncans Industries Limited have started distributing wages to workers.