Labourers of Dikom Tea Estate near Dibrugarh (in Assam) staged a dharna on Thursday demanding that the management lift the lockout order of the estate.
The management of Dikom Tea Estate had declared a lockout last Monday after irate labourers “manhandled” the doctor, pharmacist and manager of the garden.
The labourers got enraged after a woman plucker died during a thunderstorm. The woman identified as Jhalo Surjan was crushed to death while plucking tea leaves when a tree got uprooted and fell on a group of workers.
“We demand that the garden management withdraw the lockout because the workers will face problems if the garden remains closed for an indefinite period,” said Lakhindra Kurmi, district publicity secretary of ATTSA.
He urged the Dibrugarh district administration to intervene for resuming operations in the tea estate.
Three co-labourers – Mangri Keot, Manik Murah and Mamta Murah – suffered serious injuries during the thunderstorm.
Alleging lapse by the management in sending an ambulance, irate workers later manhandled the doctor, pharmacist and the manager of the tea estate.
The doctor who was “severely roughed up” had to be admitted to a hospital. Later, police came and brought the situation under control.
“The ambulance should have arrived on time. It arrived late due to which the woman lost her life. It’s a case of sheer neglect by the garden management,” fumed an estate worker.
The labourers decided to stop working alleging that the doctor did not send the ambulance despite the garden boasting of two ambulances
The management filed a FIR against the workers involved in assaulting the doctor and the garden manager and declared a lock-out of the garden fearing further breakdown in law and order situation.
The garden management announced Rs 1 lakh as compensation for the next of kin of the deceased. Chabua MLA Binod Hazarika handed over a cheque of Rs 4 lakh to the family of the woman as compensation.
“The health services provided by the garden management leaves much to be desired. We have reminded the garden authorities several times regarding the poor medical services, but in vain,” alleged a tea garden labourer.
Despite repeated attempts, this correspondent could not contact the garden management.