Rosekandy Tea Estate
File photo of Rosekandy Tea Estate labourers protesting outside DC office. Even after the garden management lifted the lockout on August 16, the labourers have not resumed work. Image credit - Northeast Now

After nearly 22 days of lockout, the Rosekandy Tea Estate in Assam’s Cachar district reopened its gates for the garden labourers to rejoin work on Friday.

But lifting of the lockout failed to move the garden labourers to the work site.

The stalemate continues, which forced the Barak Cha Shramik Union to send a team to pacify the agitating labourers and get back to work at the earliest on Saturday.

Also read: Assam: Rosekandy tea garden in Cachar reopens

Barak Cha Shramik Union’s assistant general secretary Dinanath Baroi told Northeast Now, “We have sent Pradeep Choubey, Rabindra Shil and Munna Singh to Rosekandy.”

“They will conduct a meeting with the tea garden labourers there and explain the need to join work and keep their own garden alive and kicking,” added Baroi.

He informed that at the tripartite talks held on August 13 last only a few labourers were present for the meet.

There are close to 850 garden workers in three divisions of the tea garden – Mechipur, Shahpur and Rosekandy.

“Many are still unaware as to what transpired in the meeting for which they are probably reluctant to join work even after the lockout has been lifted,” said Baroi.

The union leader also said Rosekandy Tea Estate is one of the flagship tea gardens of Barak valley which once used to produce close to 20 lakh kilograms of tea per year.

“Now they produce roughly around 14 lakh kilograms a year,” he added.

Rosekandy Tea Estate
Lockout at Rosekandy Tea Estate ended on August 16. Image credit – Northeast Now
Lockout at Rosekandy Tea Estate ended on August 16. Image credit – Northeast Now

Whereas, Barak valley’s three districts, neighbouring Tripura, Mizoram and the Brahmaputra valley alone consume eight lakh kilograms of tea, claimed Baroi.

He questioned, “Why should one destroy such a fine tea garden that we have?

“Whatever disputes are there it will now be handled by the ‘tribunal’ under Industrial Disputes Act only after the garden labourers resume their work at the earliest,” Baroi said.

Meanwhile, on conditions of anonymity, a close confidante of the garden management speaking to Northeast Now said, “It needs to be found out why the garden labourers are being incited from time to time.”

“The unrest began from June last year and we believe that some external force is adding fuel to the fire to keep this garden closed for ever,” he alleged.

Aniruddha Laskar

Aniruddha Laskar is the Chief of Bureau, South Assam &and Mizoram. He can be reached at - anilaskar@gmail.com

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