STATESMAN NEWS STATESMAN
Siliguri, 11 November
The state government has asked the management of the Red Bank and Surendranagar Tea Estates to run plantation work or give it up immediately, a labour official said.
The state labour minister, Mr Purnendu Bose, state food and supplies minister, Mr Jyoti Priya Mallick, and north Bengal development minister, Mr Gautam Deb, today visited the closed tea plantations, where nearly a dozen labourers died over the past few months owing to prolonged illness.
During the visit of the three ministers, it was decided that the state would increase allotments of kerosene oil for the workers, in absence of electricity. The food minister, Mr Jyoti Priya Mallick, has decided to keep continuing supply of foodstuff through his department.
Notably, both the Red Bank and Surendranagar tea plantations were sick and the management failed to run the tea estates properly since last year. The labourers have not yet received revised wages and other facilities over the past few months.
The joint labour commissioner, Muhammad Rizwan, said that three ministers today visited the closed tea plantation to watch the plight of the jobless labourers and made proper alternative arrangements for them particularly for foodstuff. Mr Purnendu Bose, has already sent a message to the proprietor of the plantation seeking clarification about the position of the plantation labourers.
“The state has decided to ask the proprietor whether it would run the estate properly. It has also decided that the state would find out another proprietor if the present one gives up the plantation,” a senior labour official said.
Besides Red Bank and Surendranagar, management of Nidum Tea Estate in Malbazar issued a notice for suspension of work last week.
The joint labour commissioner, Muhammad Rizwan, said departmental officials have called a meeting to resolve the crisis soon. The management had to issue suspension of work notice due to indiscipline among workers, according to labour officials.