MPs seek aid for tea workers

MPs seek aid for tea workers
Darjeeling BJP MP Raju Bista and Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha member Shanta Chhetri placed demands for financial assistance to the tea industry in north Bengal during a meeting of the Tea Board on Monday.
The two MPs are members of the Tea Board. They took part in the meet via video-conference.
Chhetri has demanded not only assistance for the lockdown period but also “subsidy towards refurbishing the 87 Darjeeling gardens on account of 104 days of disruption of work @ 2017 (sic) to be disbursed immediately”.
Chhetri said Rs 1,000 should be given to each labourer per week for the lockdown period since many planters were financially incapable of making payments for non-work days. The tea industry in north Bengal engages over 3 lakh workers.
Seeking a proactive initiative from the Tea Board during the lockdown period, Bista said: “Although tea gardens in Assam have paid half wages to even those who couldn’t join work, only a very few estates in north Bengal have done the same. Most gardens are yet to pay their workers for the lockdown period.”
“I have requested that Darjeeling Tea Upgradation scheme funds should be released immediately, under which the workers will also be equal beneficiaries,” said Bista, a demand which is in tune with that of Chhetri.
The Darjeeling BJP MP also demanded recognition of small tea growers, minimum floor prices for green tea leaves, reform in auction process and collaboration “with AYUSH Ministry to research into the medical and health benefits of” tea.
Chhetri, on the other hand, said Nepal tea “must be subjected to analysis for 34 types of insecticides, iron filings and heavy metals as per FSSAI Regulations” and stringent action should be taken against unscrupulous traders selling Nepal tea as Darjeeling Tea.
GNLF leader Ajoy Edwards said the party would file a Public Interest Litigation in Calcutta High Court seeking wages for tea garden workers during the lockdown.

https://www.telegraphindia.com

Darjeeling BJP MP Raju Bista and Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha member Shanta Chhetri placed demands for financial assistance to the tea industry in north Bengal during a meeting of the Tea Board

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