Tea Garden Owners avoid executive magistrates

Owners of closed tea estates here — showcaused by the administration for keeping their gardens shut for months — today failed to appear before the executive magistrates of their respective areas.

The management of the Kanthalguri, Ramjhora, Raipur, Chamurchi, Samsing and Bamandanga-Tondu, have, however, sent replies to the notices.

A. Subbiah, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri, had said last week that the owners must appear before the executive magistrates of the subdivisions where their estates are located by January 12 and clarify why the gardens have remained shut for so long.

Instead of giving a concrete reason for keeping the estates closed, the owners started sending in their excuses, an official said. “The management of Raipur tea estate wrote to us stating that they have handed over the garden to a new director, but did not give his address. We are now looking for his address to send the notice to him,” said P.D. Pradhan, the Jalpaiguri subdivisional officer. “The Kanthalguri management said a new company was supposed to take over the estate after its lease was cancelled, but the deal is yet to be finalised.” The Chamurchi garden, too, is yet to find a new owner, he added.

The owners of the Samsing and the Bamandanga-Tondu estates have taken a legal step after Alokesh Prasad Roy, the Malbazar SDO, served them the notice. They obtained a stay order against the administrative proceedings from the district court, a source said. “Lawyers representing the management of these estates have told me that they have obtained stay order against the proceedings,” Roy said.

With none of the owners appearing before the executive magistrates, the administrative officials have declared the legal process pending. “Another showcause notice will be served on them. If they fail to turn up even on the second date, non-bailable warrants may be issued against them,” an official said.

Source > The Telegraph