DIBRUGARH: Hundreds of plantation workers under the banner of Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) on Friday staged a protest at the Nalani tea estate in upper Assam’s Tinsukia district over Oil India Limited (OIL)’s acquisition of 35 bighas of garden land for setting up of an Oil Collecting Station (OCS).

The workers holding placards and banners raised slogans against the land acquisition by Oil India Limited.

The ACMS led by its central vice president and former Congress legislator from Chabua Raju Sahu also extended support to the protest. 

Talking to media persons, Raju Sahu said, “Oil India Limited has acquired 35 bighas of land of Nalani tea estate owned by MK Jokai group for setting up an Oil Collecting Station (OCS). Thousands of tea bushes were uprooted for setting up the unit. We won’t have any objection if they had acquired barren tea garden land for setting up the same. Since the livelihood of hundreds of tea workers is at stake we are strongly opposing it.”

He further said, “The tea industry is being systematically destroyed by such senseless acts by the tea garden management. We have seen that tea garden land of tea estates like Dhelakhat, Limbuguri, Khamti Gowali, Hatiali, Ahmedi, Sealkotee, Hukanpukhuri, Dinjan, Balijan North, Naduwa, Khaojan, Dikom have been sold for industrial and commercial purposes.

“The land acquisition process should be stopped immediately. We can’t allow them to destroy the tea bushes in front of our eyes as thousands of workers are dependent on the tea garden for their livelihood,” he added.

“We have opposed such move and demand OIL to stop acquiring tea garden land. The livelihood of tea workers is associated with the tea garden and if such process will go, the worker will face an uncertain future,” Sahu added.

Avik Chakraborty

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