Govt. aids three closed tea gardens

The Bengal government has decided to extend financial assistance to labourers of three closed tea gardens of the Dooars under the Financial Assistance to Workers of Locked-Out Industries scheme, officials of the labour department said here today.

So far, 10 of the 13 closed or abandoned tea estates in the region have been on the labour department’s list. “The three new gardens included in the scheme are Dekhlapara, Kalchini and Raimatang,” said Md Naseem, the joint labour commissioner posted in Siliguri. Under the scheme, every permanent worker of the gardens will receive Rs 750 every month from the state.

His subordinates at Jalpaiguri, where all these gardens are located, assured that the process has been initiated. “We will soon issue forms to workers of these estates. After they are filled, the forms will be scrutinised and sent to the higher level for sanction,” said Kallol Dutta, the deputy labour commissioner of Jalpaiguri. “Once the funds start coming in, we will help the workers open bank accounts, where the money will be transferred.”

Officials said they were trying to break the deadlock at the estates through tripartite meetings. “So far, at least 30 meetings have been convened for every closed estate, but to no avail,” said the joint labour commissioner. They have fallen through mostly because the management officials of closed gardens have not attended the meetings, he alleged.

The labour department has also got in touch with the provident funds (PF) officials to recover the workers’ dues.

“During the recent visit of our secretary here, it was decided that the issue will be taken up with the PF department. We are checking the dues of the workers who were on the payroll of these gardens and taking joint steps to recover the money,” an official said.

The labour department, however, said no new instructions have reached them after the finance minister’s visit to Jalpaiguri last week, when he made a number of promises to workers.

Source: The Telegraph