Reopening of Beech Tea Estate failed

Siliguri: A tripartite meeting called to reopen Beech Tea Estate failed to yield any result today, but kept the door open for further negotiations.

The management fled from the garden on April 12 after workers had gheraoed the manager, Samsher Singh, over a number of demands earlier in the day.

“We asked the management’s representatives to reopen the garden and then solve the problems through discussions with the trade unions,” Mohammad Nasim, the joint labour commissioner posted in Siliguri, said after the meeting which was held in his office. “They were also told to continue providing basic amenities to the workers along with wages and ration to keep things under control.”

Union leaders present at the meeting said the management seemed interested in reopening the garden. “Another meeting has been called on April 25 where we expect some breakthrough,” said Prabhat Mukherjee, the Jalpaiguri district general secretary of the Intuc-affiliated National Union of Plantation Workers.

The planters lobby remained cautious. “The situation seems to have improved after today’s meeting but the management needs more time to come to a decision,” said Prabir Bhattacharjee, the secretary of the Dooars branch of Indian Tea Association.