Mamata Banerjee’s visit to the Dooars has not gone unnoticed, but neither has it been able to trigger any enthusiasm.

A day after her tour of two closed estates, tea workers feel that the Trinamul Congress chief has to deliver first, in the manner of some major breakthroughs, to win their confidence.

“We have become accustomed to false promises from leaders. Unless her party succeeds in establishing an efficient platform that would work towards reopening the gardens, it will be tough for it to garner support here,” said Phanindranath Das, a worker of Sikarpur-Bhandapur, 30 km from here. Mamata had visited the garden yesterday.

He added that in no way would workers of his garden follow the lines of Singur and Nandigram. The reference was to Mamata’s announcement that her party would launch a movement similar to the ones in south Bengal against land acquisition.

Das agreed with Sania Bhumij, a worker and unit secretary of the Citu-affiliated Cha Bagan Mazdoor Union of Raipur, that actor turned Trinamul MLA Tapas Pal had been the real crowd puller.

“It is true that hundreds of residents, especially women, had rushed to the dais. But their intention was to see Tapas Pal. He is well-known here,” said Bhumij, one of those who had elaborated their problems before Mamata yesterday. Bhumij, however, said she and many other workers would not mind joining any movement that might benefit them. “In case a central agitation is organised and it is useful to us, we would definitely participate,” she said.

Others like Biplab Sarkar of Bharnobari, which is likely to open on June 29, said the Trinamul leader’s visit has been a “little too late”.

“She has taken up the issue five years after the crisis started, at a time when the Centre and state are seriously working to end the impasse,” said Sarkar.

He said another factor that would make the party’s task harder was the absence of any Trinamul trade union in the tea belt. Trinamul leaders of the region admitted that they had a number of hurdles ahead.

“It is true that we need to take up concrete activities in the closed gardens to bring people under the banner of the Save Tea Garden Committee,” said Gautam Deb, the Darjeeling district president of the party. Deb has been made chairman of a 15-member core group that will give regular reports to Mamata on the tea gardens.

“We will meet in Cooch Behar on June 24 to chalk out our strategy,” he added.

Source: The Telegraph