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The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) on Tuesday announced a series of agitational programmes from September 16 in support of their various demands.

Talking to reporters, ACMS general secretary Rupesh Gowala said their main demand is the hike of tea workers’ minimum daily wages.

He alleged that despite the pre-election promise made by the BJP to hike tea workers’ wages to Rs 351, they have failed to honour the commitment thereby depriving lakhs of workers.

Gowala said, “We have decided to go for a series of agitational programmes from September 16 in order to highlight the failure of the BJP-led government in fulfilling the demands of the tea community of the state,”

“On that day, plantation workers across the state will stage dharna in the tea gardens. On September 22, we will stage a 1-hour protest in front of the offices of the deputy commissioners, circle officers and sub-divisional officers throughout Assam,” Gowala said.

“Then on September 29, our members will form human chains from Sadiya to Guwahati on the national and state highways from 3 pm to 5 pm. Our next phase of agitation will include Assam bandh and highway blockades which will be decided later,” he added.

Regarding BJP’s promise over ST status, Gowala said, “The BJP government had promised Scheduled Tribes (ST) status for six communities of Assam including the Adivasis. But the issue has been pending for the last several years.”

“So our demand is that the Adivasis should also get a separate autonomous council at least till the time the ST status is granted,” said Gowala.

The state government has decided to establish middle schools and high schools in tea gardens, he said.

“Our demand is that 50% of the employees including teaching staff should be hired from the tea community,” Gowala said.

ACMS vice president Nabin Chandra Keot, who was also present in the meeting, flayed the Sarbananda Sonowal government depriving the tea workers of the state.

Keot while welcoming the decision of the state government to form separate autonomous councils for Moran, Matak and Koch-Rajbongshi communities in the state, also demanded that an autonomous council also be formed for the tea community.

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com