The Assam Tea Tribe Students’ Association (ATTSA) on Monday opposed state government’s decision to allow functioning of the tea gardens of Assam from Wednesday amid 21-day nationwide lockdown.
“We are not happy with the government’s decision to allow functioning of the tea gardens. It is not a big thing to open the tea garden but the government should chalk out a guideline because it is very tough to maintain social distance in tea garden,” said Lazar Nanda, central executive member of ATTSA.
Nanda added, “We know that the tea gardens are facing loses due to the lockdown but the tea management and the government should think for the poor garden workers. The tea managements only think for their profit only.
“There are many big tea gardens in Assam where 2000 to 3000 workers worked at a time and it is very tough to maintain the social distance. The tea garden people’s are used as a vote bank nobody thinks for the community.”
A meeting of the council of ministers, chaired by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, on Monday night, decided to allow tea gardens to pluck leaves from April 1.
The tea gardens owners had been mounting pressure on the government to provide financial assistance to pay wages to the workers during the time when gardens are shut.
Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha general secretary Rupesh Gowala said he was not aware about Dispur’s decision.
He said that no protective gear and mask are distributed to the tea garden workers.