Tea Worker Food Grains

The Centre is expected to release the July month’s foodgrain quota for the tea industry today. At least that is what the state food minister Mr Paresh Adhikary hopes.

The food minister who spoke to the private secretary of Union agriculture minister Mr Sharad Pawar today told The Statesman: “I was informed that the file has been put up for Mr Pawar’s consideration today. It is likely that he would clear it,” Mr Adhikary, said.

Incidentally, Mr Adhikary met Mr Pawar in Delhi on 27 July and apprised him of the situation arising out of the Centre’s decision to hold back allotment of foodgrain for the tea industry till such time the industry-appointed distributors and dealers to accommodate the targeted public distribution system.

According to Mr Adhikary, parliamentarian Mr Hiten Barman also spoke to Mr Pawar’s private secretary today and learnt that the minister was expected to sign the release of foodgrain for the tea industry today.

The tea industry, which is yet to get any concrete assurance from any corner about the fate of the held up July month’s foodgrain allotment, is in the meantime worried more than ever. Pointing out that the tea associations are yet to receive last month’s allotment, the convener of the West Bengal, Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations Mr NK Basu wrote to Mr Adhikary today expressing apprehension about the foodgrain allotment for the month of August.
“The industry has to feed a large number of workers and their dependents. Non-allotment of foodgrain for the month of July has exhausted all stock and the situation in almost every tea plantation is getting seriously worrisome,” the WBCCPA official wrote to the state food minister.

“The cash-strapped plantations are not in a position to procure foodgrain from the open market and the tea associations are under pressure from the suppliers to increase the rates if the foodgrain has to be procured from the open market. The situation is working like a double edged sword for the industry,” Mr Basu, said. Under the circumstances, and if the Centre does not release the allotted foodgrain, there is every possibility that a number of plantations might falter in distributing ration. The ground reality is that the tea industry is currently in a peak season, which might force the industry to go beyond its means to ensure there was no disruption or worker trouble. But the same effort is not expected once the season peters off.

Source: The Statesman, India