One more death at Ramjhora Tea Estate

COOCH BEHAR: One more person died at Ramjhora Tea Estate in the Dooars today, taking the death toll to 176 since the garden was closed in August 2002.

Sankar Gosain (14), a resident of Top Line area of Ramjhora Tea Estate, died this afternoon. He was suffering from anaemia, sources said.

It may be recalled that governor Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi had visited the tea estate recently to see for himself the condition of the beleaguered labourers. Two persons had died on the day the governor visited the tea estate.

Several trade unions have been demanding reopening of the tea estate for a long time, but to no avail. Alipurduar MLA and secretary of UTUC’s Jalpaiguri district unit Mr Nirmal Das has condoled the death of Gosain today. He said that the Jalpaiguri Zilla Parishad should take measures to stop frequent deaths in the tea estate. “They should set up a camp in the tea estate. The healthcare facilities should be introduced there. Mere visit of the governor is not enough for the well-being of the residents of the tea estate. The state government should prove that they are too interested for the welfare of the workers. Though the chief minister had promised that they would take necessary step to stop starvation deaths in the tea estate, nothing has been done yet. The Jalpaiguri Zilla Parishad is also sitting silent,” Mr Das, alleged.

Meanwhile, leaders of RSP, United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) and Dooars Cha-Bagan Workers’ Union (DCBWU) have decided to postpone their proposed roadblock programme from 13 February in places like Birpara and Hasimara.

The roadblock was planned to press for the reopening of the closed and abandoned tea estates of the Dooars. However, after the visit of the governor, the proponents of the programme decided to review their agitation plan.

General secretary of DCBWU and also the Jalpaiguri district RSP secretary, Mr Rana Sen, said they would start a fresh movement if the authorities failed to take initiative for the reopening of the closed tea estates in the region.

Source: The Statesman