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Darjeeling, Dooars Tea unions to fight for garden workers rights

Tea garden worker in Darjeeling
The GJMM-backed Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union (DTDPLU) and the Progressive Tea Workers Union (PTWU) of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (John Barla faction) have joined hands in demanding the rights of tea garden workers in Darjeeling Hills and the Terai-Dooars region.

Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) chief Bimal Gurung Saturday said that the DTDPLU and the PTWU will jointly launch an agitation at the end of September if the government fails to take immediate steps in fulfilling the demands of tea garden workers.

After a meeting with tribal leader John Barla and representatives of the DTDPLU and PTWU at Gorkha Ranga Mancha Bhawan in Darjeeling on Saturday, Gurung said, "The demand of land rights for the tea workers, implementation of the Minium Wages Act in Darjeeling Terrai Dooars and reopening of the tea gardens that are presently shut in Dooars were the three points discussed in the meeting. We decided that if the government fails to take immediate steps in fulfilling these demands, the DDTPLU and PTWU will jointly start an agitation in the Darjeeling hills and the Terai-Dooars," adding, "We have already sent three quintals of rice to the tea garden workers in shut tea gardens in the Dooars. I have also decided to raise the issue of relief for tea workers of the closed tea gardens in Dooars with the central ministers during my stay in Delhi."

Sources in DTDPLU said that they will have another round of meeting with PTWU where they will decide on the date to be set as ultimatum for the government.

Emphasizing on the need of unity among tea workers Gurung said, "The need for unity is must for obtaining one's rights. The tea workers need to remain united for their cause."

Gurung added that a public meeting will be organized in Dooars in the month of September.

Meanwhile, a section of political observers opined that Gurung's decision to unite with Barla for the cause of tea garden workers, has been done with an eye on the Assembly elections in 2016.(sns)

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