DOTEPL abandons 10 tea gardens in Darjeeling without paying bonus and dues

Darjeeling: The Management of the 10 tea gardens under the Darjeeling Organic Tea Estates Pvt. Ltd (DOTEPL) formerly popular as the Bansal Group, abandoned the gardens without any notice. They have not paid bonuses to the workers along with past dues. The sudden disappearance of the management without paying the dues has drawn flak from different political outfits.

The Hamro Party beefed up its "Blood Tea" campaign with party President Ajoy Edwards drawing his own blood and sprinkling it on the tea bushes at Happy Valley tea estate in Darjeeling as a mark of protest.

Workers of these 10 gardens have been on an agitation path since long with the Management failing to pay wages, salary along with PF and gratuity. In the recent past operations had come to a standstill with non-payment. Finally an agreement had been reached that the gardens would become operational from September 9 with assurances of paying two fortnights of due wages and one month of due salary.

Edwards has urged Anit Thapa, GTA Chief Executive to release the GTA Chairman relief fund among workers of the closed gardens "so that workers can celebrate Dasain (Dusserah) with dignity." I will also add Rs 5 lakh more to the relief fund personally," added Edwards.

"I am in constant touch with the District Administration. I have also directed the Sabhasads of the constituencies under which the closed tea gardens fall to stand with the workers. I'm in touch with the state government and the management," stated Anit Thapa.

The gardens under the DOTEPL include Happy Valley, Ambootia, Monteviot, Magarjung, Moonda-Bansghari, Rongmook Cedar, Chongtong, Alubari, Rangaroon and Pandam Tea Estates. The number of workers in these 10 gardens is around 8,000.

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