Speaker Biman Bandyopadhyay suspended Leader of Opposition in Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari from the winter session for interrupting proceedings of the House.
Trinamul Congress backed trade union INTTUC is gearing up a 14 day special camp in the tea plantations in North Bengal from 23 November to 7 December 2023. The objective of this camp is to reach out to each tea workers in the tea belt ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024.
The Trinamul Congress leaders as well as Minister in Charge of Labour Department, Moloy Ghatak and the INTTUC state president Ritabrata Banerjee held a meeting here recently and took such a decision.
Notably, the INTTUC has already formed a separate trade union here named Trinamul Cha Bagan Shramik Union ( TCBSU) and set up its units in almost all tea plantations in the plains. Significantly, the Trinamul Congress backed trade union leaders have been asked to set up camp in each tea garden to know about the implementation of State Welfare Schemes especially Lakshmi Bhandar for the tea workers, where majority of them are women.
Darjeeling district (Plains) INTTUC president Nirjal De said: “We would interact with the tea workers directly to know about their present status on various issues from Lakshmi Bhandar to other state government’s welfare schemes and provident fund. Our objective is to know whether they have got all state sponsored welfare schemes. Based on the report from the camp, necessary action will be taken.”
“The trade union leaders will also collect exact information about Provident Fund accounts from workers and from management. We are not getting exact information about tea workers’ PF accounts from the PF office, due to a good relationship between planters and PF officials. A group of middlemen have been depriving workers’ family members from their legitimate claims after the death of any workers,” Mr De added. Besides, the Trinamul Congress has planned to resolve the issue of Aadhaar link and state government’s health insurance scheme for tea workers.
Party sources said that the INTTUC leaders will also showcase recent projects launched in tea gardens especially health centres following recommendations from West Bengal Tea Advisory Council. Notably, the TCBSU leaders have been showcasing the role of the present Trinamul Congress led state government to increase wages of daily rated workers compared to the Left Regime.
According to them, the wages was Rs 67 before 2011 but now the wages of a permanent tea worker is Rs 250 a day. Notably, the state has increased their wages on interim basis, as it started implementing Minimum Wage Act in tea plantations, which is still under process. On the other hand, the INTTUC backed TCBSU leaders have asked the Labour Department to begin reconciliation meetings to reopen several closed gardens.
According to trade union leaders, a total of 20 gardens are closed in the tea belt. Of them, five in the Hills and one in Terai region. A total of 14 gardens are non operational in the Dooars region. As the tea workers of those gardens have not yet received Puja Bonus, the INTTUC leaders have requested the Labour Department to reopen those gardens.