The Kohinoor tea garden management in Alipurduar district has alleged that it is facing problems selling tea due to “threats” that are coming in from its previous management.
The present management of the100-year-old tea garden situated under the Shamuktala police station in the district has demanded immediate police action on a complaint it has filed against the previous management.
It is learnt that the owner of the garden, Sagarmal Agarwal, and his brother Dinesh Agarwal had an agreement with one Keshab Sinha and his brother Baibhab Sinha where Mr Sagarmal and his brother handed charge of the tea garden to the Sinha brothers for a period of five years in 2018.
This year, on 11 October, Mr Sinha’s company cited security reasons and issued a pre-lockout notice in the tea garden. Later, Mr Agarwal took charge of the garden.
Sagarmal Agarwal has already paid Durga Puja bonus to all its 1250 workers at the rate of 18 percent, it is learnt.
The Agarwal brothers today held a press conference and alleged threats from Keshab Sinha. Buyers of the Kohinoor garden tea are also being threatened, the press meet was told.
“It is true that we have signed the agreement where Keshab Sinha’s company was given the charge to run the tea garden for a period of five years in 2018. But Mr Sinha did not pay the amount mentioned in the agreement (Rs 2 per kg of made tea and Re 1 per kg of green leaves). Moreover, he increased the liability of the tea garden by Rs 3 crore and 62 lakh, which is completely opposite to the agreement. Some highly valuable machines in the garden are also missing,” Sagarmal Agarwal alleged.
“Workers are very happy with us. We paid 18 percent puja bonus this time and we have started to clear the PF and Gratuity of the workers too,” said Omprakash Upadhay, an official of the present management of the tea garden.
Keshab Sinha, however, denied the allegations.
“We have an agreement to run the tea garden for five years. Moreover, we bought all the shares of the Kohinoor tea company. We are the owners of the tea garden. Some green leaf brokers have occupied the garden illegally. We have lodged a police complaint, but police is taking no action. We had gone to court also. The brokers and hooligans let loose workers against us. We were beaten and were forced out of the garden in a planned conspiracy,” he said.