At a time when the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA), an apex body of tea associations, has written to the state government, demanding financial package for the tea industry, while estimating losses of Rs 1400 crore due to the lockdown, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today asked district magistrates to hold an urgent meeting with tea garden owners so that tea workers do not face any problem.

Miss Banerjee today held a review meeting to take stock of the present situation through video conferencing with all district officials and doctors of medical colleges and hospitals of the state. As Jalpaiguri district magistrate Abhishek Tiwary informed the CM of an influx of migrant workers from Maharashtra and Kerala, the CM asked the DM to hold a meeting with garden owners to take proper steps to deal with the situation.

Miss Banerjee also alerted the DM, and said that tea workers will never die due to starvation and asked him to supply food to them properly. The CM also asked about migrant workers and how and when they arrived, and instructed the Alipurduar district magistrate to take care of them. The CM also repeatedly mentioned that the next two weeks were crucial, and that everyone would have to work day and night on an emergency basis.

On the other hand, CCPA chairman Vivek Goenka yesterday wrote to the CM, seeking a financial package. Mr Goenka also wrote a similar letter to state finance minister Amit Mitra and the Union Commerce and Industry minister, Piyush Goyel.

“We appeal for a financial package from the government for the tea sector to tide over this crisis and secure the employment and livelihood of 1.2 million workers employed by the sector,” Mr Goenka said. “The estimated loss of revenue would amount to approximately Rs 1,400 crore on a loss of 100 million kg of tea,” the CCPA chairman said.