Tea garden workers plucking tea leaf. (File image)

The Assam government has announced a bonus of 20 per cent for workers of tea gardens under the Assam Tea Corporation Limited (ATCL) on the occasion of Durga Puja.

“Following the direction of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the State government on Thursday announced 20 per cent bonus to the workers in the tea gardens under Assam Tea Corporation,” said a statement issued from CMO.

All workers of the state-owned tea gardens under ATCL are eligible for the bonus. The ATCL has 15 tea gardens and around 16,748 workers.

On the other hand, the Consultative Committee of Plantation Association (CCPA) has recently said the tea industry may fail to disburse 20% bonus to its workers this year before Durga Puja.

The CCPA is five tea growers’ organisations–Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA), Assam Branch Indian Tea Association (ABITA), North East Tea Association (NETA), Tea Association of India (TAI) and Bharatiya Chah Parishad (BCP).

Several trade unions associated with the plantation labourers as well as the tea tribes’ student bodies expressed sharp reactions over the CCPA announcement.

The Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association (ATTSA) on August 25 last had blocked National Highway 37 at Lahowal and Dikom in Upper Assam’s Dibrugarh district demanding 20 per cent Durga Puja bonus for tea workers.

The protesters also burnt the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal during the hourlong blockade from 11am.

The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) urged the state government to set up a high-level expert committee to study the crisis faced by the tea industry.

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