Hundreds of tea garden labourers sit on the roads outside DC office in Silchar chanting slogans and displaying placards demanding for their garden manager's ouster (2)
Hundreds of tea garden labourers sit on the roads outside deputy commissioner’s office in Silchar chanting slogans and displaying placards demanding for their garden manager's ouster on June 22, 2019. Image: Northeast Now

A marathon tripartite talks to break the ice and reopen Barak valley’s famous Rosekandy tea garden in Assam, failed once again on Saturday.

The strike called upon by tea garden labourers of Mesipur, Shahapur and Rosekandy, entered its 13th day on Sunday, beginning on June 10.

On Saturday, hundreds of tea garden labourers marched in unison to reach Officepara at 2 pm that houses the deputy commissioner’s office and chanted slogans for the ouster of the tea garden’s general manager, Iswar Bhai Ubhedia.

Their sole demand is for his ouster as they alleged that he has been running this garden showing no mercy and sympathy for the labourers.

The placards too named him as that of a ‘Hitler’ for which a marathon talk that began at 2 pm ended at 8 pm in the evening, without any positive result.

However, though, an 11-member committee has been constituted for an inquiry into the demands of the labourers, wherein, it would be led by assistant labour commissioner, Rupali Pegu, apart from members from the tea garden management, district administration, and the labourers.

Talking to Northeast Now, leader of the garden labourers, Babul Kumar said, “Our demand is the ouster of our manager, Ubhedia. Now that an inquiry committee has been constituted to look into our demands and the allegations that we have labeled against our manager, we want Ubhedia be sent for leave for about a month so as not to interfere in the matters of this committee.”

He added, “Sanjay Bhowalka, the owner of this garden who too was present today in this tripartite talk was not aware of many things going on in his garden. We have informed him that let us come out of this clash of egos and allow the garden to function smoothly once again for this garden is not only of the owner, but, is a part of our lives.”

Sanjay Bhowalka, owner of this garden, talking to this correspondent said, “I have heard their grievances but transferring or ouster of my garden manager, is not a solution. Now that an enquiry committee has been formed, we can take action only after its findings. We also want the garden to open as soon as possible and the labourers return for work.”

The talks that lasted for close to six hours was attended by ADC, J R Salsim, Addl SP, Jagadish Das, owner of Rosekandy tea estate, Sanjay Bhowalka, general manager, Iswar Bhai Ubhedia, Barak Cha Sramik Union’s GS and former minister of Assam, Ajit Singh, AGS and MLA of Lakhipur, Rajdeep Goala apart from 23 tea garden labourers led by their leader Babul Kumar.

The absence of the deputy commissioner, Laya Madduri, from such vital talks as also her not visiting Rosekandy tea garden, even once, has raised a lot of eyebrows, informed one Barak Cha Sramik Union leader on condition of anonymity.


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