Close to 100 tea garden labourers of Kumbhirgram Tea Estate, run by Goodricke Tea Company, marched towards the Cachar Deputy Commissioner’s office on Monday afternoon demanding strict actions against their tea garden managers for locking down this garden from October 25.
Before submitting a memorandum with a plethora of demands addressed to Assistant Commissioner of Labour and also to the Deputy Commissioner Cachar, for their emergent intervention in reopening of this prestigious tea garden of Barak valley, a small march was also witnessed from Silchar’s Khudhiram Bose statue up to the Deputy Commissioner’s office, with chants and slogans against the tea garden management.
Among these demands, the garden labourers pressed for the reopening of their tea estate which has been locked down illegally; Bonus and payments for these labourers as well as ration for the past one week to be provided; Tea garden managers, Anil Gurung and Nehar Sinha, should face punishment for their ill treatment of tea garden labourers and lastly, for illegally locking down the tea garden, a magisterial enquiry to be initiated for knowing the truth behind the real reason for this fiasco out there, were laid out by the garden labourers supported by Chah Mazdoor Unions.
Meanwhile, Akhil Bharatiya Chah Mazdoor Sangh (Assam) and its Cachar committee’s member, Vivek Bhumij, talking to Northeast Now outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office, said “The garden management on the night of October 25 with the help of the police put up a big notice that the garden has been locked out. The labourers were not informed and they came to know of it only the next day. The garden management for your information has sold some parts of the garden area to airport authority which is nearby. They are trying to sell even more in return to get ‘crores’ for it. They now, it seems, are not interested in running this garden for too long.”
He added, “Today we have submitted a list of demands to be fulfilled, like salaries, bonus and rations to be provided, for without it, these labourers would die of hunger. While submitting a memorandum to the Assistant Commissioner of Labour we were told that a tripartite meeting has been arranged on Tuesday, which we don’t know. We want a mass consensus of all the labourers for any decision to be taken post these tripartite meets.”
For now, all eyes would be upon Kumbhirgram Tea Estate, run by Goodricke Tea Company, as to what pans out next, a fresh brewed cup of tea, or, anything else bitter.