With the Gauhati High Court directing the Assam government to stay implementation of wage hike for the tea garden workers, the pre-poll sop of the BJP has received a roadblock ahead of the ensuing Assam Assembly elections.

The Labour department of the Assam government issued a notification on February 23 for the implementation of the decision to hike the daily wage of the workers of Assam’s tea gardens.

According to a media report, the High Court has ordered the BJP-led Assam government not to take action against the Indian Tea Association and 17 tea companies until a case challenging the February 23 notification of the Assam Labour department is disposed of.

According to the notification issued by the state government, the minimum wage of the tea garden workers was increased by Rs 50 taking the existing amount of Rs 167 to Rs 217.

Also read: Poll gimmick: Assam Cabinet decides to increase tea garden workers’ wage to Rs 217

It has been reported that the counsel of the petitioner, PK Goswami, on March 8 argued that the notification was “illegal as no Committee/Sub-Committees have been formed as required under Section 5(1/a) and Section 9 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948”.

Justice Michael Zothankhuma, while hearing the petition, said the authorities of the state “shall not take any coercive action” against the Indian Tea Association and the tea companies till the next date of the hearing.

March 15 has been fixed as the next date of hearing on the case.

The High Court through the order has barred the Assam government from penalizing the 17 tea companies which own 90% of around 800 tea estates in Assam, for not paying the tea garden workers at the rate recently fixed by the state government.

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