Statesman news service
Darjeeling, 16 July
Though the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha chief Mr Bimal Gurung is yet to blow the final whistle for the next round of agitations for Gorkhaland, in case Telangana is formed, the party&’s labour organisation has already decided to go against the state to solve the problems of the Hills’ workers.
A day after the GJMM affiliated Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union (DTDPLU) launched a phase-wise agitation, a strike in the three plantations under West Bengal Tea Development Corporation (WBTDC) started yesterday and Jan Mukti Unorganised Sector Labour Union (JUSLU) today announced an agitation against the state if their demands are not met within 15 days.
The leaders of the JUSLU today released the papers where they said to have submitted a memorandum yesterday through the assistant labour commissioner, asking the West Bengal Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board to meet their demands.
“We have submitted a two-point memorandum through the ALC, demanding a translation of the ‘pension passbook’ of all the workers of the Hills, from Bengali to Nepali.”  said the secretary of the construction sector of the union, Mr Satyen Giri.
“We have also demanded a set of clothes (jacket, gloves and shoes) for all the workers instead of a bicycle,” he added.
 He also said: “With repeated supplication by the Union, the board had issued the Form for the workers to become viable receivers of certain benefits. Yet the department has not translated the pension passbook. The workers do not understand Bengali as Nepali is the language used in the Hills. Also, under the same scheme, bicycles are to be provided to the workers but in the Hills such a thing is irrelevant. So we have demanded the board to provide a set of clothes to the workers instead."
“This demand had been made one-and-a-half years ago but has not resulted in anything, forcing us to go against the board. If the authorities do not respond positively, we will launch a workers’ agitation starting 15 days after the submission of memorandum,” said Mr Satyen Giri.
A copy of the memorandum has been forwarded to the Darjeeling District Magistrate and the principal secretary of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), he added.
"Earlier, we had submitted a resolution to the GTA about the necessity of transfer of the West Bengal Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board under the Hills autonomous body. The sabha members have given a positive response in this regard.” added Mr Satyen Giri.