Tea Estate Girl gets leave with pay for studies

Jaigaon: Lakshmi Oraon of Carron tea garden near here can drop the pruning knife and concentrate on her books.

The owner of the garden, P.K. Basu, called her yesterday and told her that she can take a paid holiday before the Madhyamik examinations, which will start from February 21.

“He called me to his office, told me to sit on the chair in front of his desk and asked me how I was preparing for the exam. He shot off questions on several subjects and even showed me how to solve an algebra equation when I stumbled on it,” Lakshmi said. “I could not believe my ears when he asked me to take paid leave.”

“I learnt about the girl from The Telegraph last Monday,” Basu said. “I did not know that someone was sitting for the Madhyamik from my estate. I thank the newspaper for reporting it.”

He said if he had known about Lakshmi earlier he would have granted her a leave with wages for three months. “Now, I have asked the manager to pay wages to Lakshmi from February 13 to March 7 — the period when she will be on leave. If she passes the exam, I will give her Rs 5,000 for further studies,” Basu said.

Basu’s action overwhelmed Lakshmi’s father, Shankar Oraon, also a worker there. “Even the manager does not dare to sit in front of the owner and he asked my daughter to take the seat,” he said.

The unit secretary of the National Union of Plantation Workers, Shankar Baraik, said: “We have never seen an owner do this before.”

Source: The Telegraph