The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) on Tuesday demanded an increase in tea garden workers‘ wage and said the workers of small tea gardens in the state are suffering due to non-fixation of their wages.

Addressing a press conference at Dibrugarh on Tuesday, ACMS president and former Union minister Paban Singh Ghatowar criticised the government for failing to fix the wages of the workers at small tea gardens.

“There are a total of 6 lakh workers engaged in small tea gardens but their condition is very poor and they are exploited by the owners of the small tea gardens,” Ghatowar said.

“There is no fixed wage for them as the government has failed to address their issues. Even after knowing the problems of the workers of small tea gardens, the government is not taking any initiative,” Ghatowar said.

ACMS president Ghatowar said, “We are holding peaceful protests across the state in support of our 11 charter of demands. The government has not given us permission to organize the Dispur Chalo programme. But our peaceful protest will go on till our demand is not met.”

Ghatowar further said, “To raise the minimum wages of the tea garden workers, a meeting was recently held in Guwahati on February 6. We clearly urged to raise the minimum wages up to Rs 351. It’s a long pending demand of the ACMS and the government should prioritise the issue.”

The ACMS president came down heavily on the Assam Tea Company (ATC) for its failure to disperse the provident fund amounts to its workers.

“ATC has 14 tea gardens in Assam and they have a total of 25,000 workers. But the workers’ standard of living is very poor,” Ghatowar said.

He said the ATC gardens do not have doctors and nurses and the hospitals are not equipped with modern facilities.

“We have urged the government to look into the matter,” said Ghatowar.

ACMS general secretary Rupesh Gowala said, “From February 10, we will continue protesting in every branch till our demands are not met. Our main demand is to raise the minimum wages of the workers up to Rs 351.”

Avik Chakraborty

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