Provident Fund Default by Dalsingpara Tea Estate

The provident fund office in Jalpaiguri has issued a show-cause notice to the management of the Dalsingpara tea estate for not depositing their and the employees’ portion to the fund.

Sources said till June, the garden has defaulted on an amount of over Rs 1.43 crore.

“Besides issuing the letter, we have also filed an FIR against the manager and the director of the garden,” said V. Kumar, additional provident fund commissioner, Jalpaiguri. “We have even sealed the bank and broker accounts of the estate.”

Stating that the employees’ contribution had been deducted from their wages, K.K. Jha, the manager of the garden, said only the head office knew why the amount has not been deposited to the fund.

“This is a criminal act and many retired employees of the garden are not being able to avail of the provident funds due to the non-payment of the mandatory amount,” said Pravat Mukherjee, the general secretary of National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW).

The NUPW unit president at the garden, Kalatush Kullu, said there are about 3,000 provident fund account holders in Dalsingpara. “The management has not been depositing the employees’ contribution since August, 2004. It has put the workers — especially those who have retired and the next of kin of those who have passed away — in trouble,” Kullu alleged.

He said in June last year, a tripartite meeting was held in the office of the additional provident fund commissioner in Calcutta. “An agreement was signed, which stated that not only would the management deposit the default account in instalments, but the monthly deposit would also be regularised. The management has not kept its word,” Kullu said.

Mukherjee alleged that the provident fund office was not utilising the six enforcement officers it had in Jalpaiguri. “The tea gardens in the district have a default amount of over Rs 75 crore and the officers should take immediate steps against it,” Mukherjee said.

Source > The Telegraph