Women on Tea garden vigil

Women workers in the Bhagatpur tea estate have formed a vigilante team to prevent theft from the garden and its factory as the strike called by the Citu-affiliated Cha Bagan Majdoor Union (CBMU) entered the fourth day today.

“Workers of closed gardens are often blamed by the management for pilfering metal scrap and tea leaves, but we are determined not to be included in the same bracket. We will protect the garden and at the same time carry on with our movement against the management to recover our dues,” said Sushila Ekka, the assistant secretary of the CBMU’s garden unit.

Sushila said in closed gardens criminals often steal saplings, fell shade trees for profit and loot made-tea from the factories. “We have formed a team of 150 women and they are keeping a 24-hour vigil in small groups,” Sushila said. The garden was the source of daily bread for the workers and none of them want it to be ruined by criminals, she added.

Ashu Sarkar, the central committee member of the CBMU and member of the Jalpaiguri Zilla Parishad, today said if the management did not sit for talks, the movement would be intensified soon. “We will not withdraw the strike and not allow the management to enter the garden as well,” Sarkar said.

The secretary of the Dooars Branch of the Indian Tea Association, Prabir Bhattacharya, said he was yet to hear from the garden management. “It will be better if the strike is withdrawn and talks between the management and the union start.”

Source: The Telegraph