Guwahati: The Supreme Court of India has ordered the payment of approximately Rs 650 crores to 28,556 workers of 25 tea gardens in the state of Assam, including those owned by the state-run Assam Tea Company Limited (ATCL).

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A bench of justices MR Shah and CT Ravi Kumar approved the report submitted by retired justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, which was appointed by the court in January 2020 to calculate and pay the proper dues to the tea garden workers.

The report stated that Rs 414.7 crores were payable as various dues and Rs 230.7 crores were payable to the Provident Fund department.

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The court instructed that the payments should be made within the specified time frame and after proper identification of the workers. The state government made a payment of Rs 99 crores in 2018 under the court’s direction, which the report suggests can be recovered from the ATCL.

The state of Assam has expressed objections to the report and the amount payable, particularly with regard to the 7th Pay Commission’s recommendation. The court has urged the state to respect the efforts of the committee and deposit the amount.

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