Buyer for Bharnobari Tea Estate

The owner of Radharani Tea Estate in Kalchini, Jalpaiguri, has shown an interest in taking over the closed Bharnobari garden, the tea board said. Radharani is owned by Kingshuk Sinha.

“Representatives of Radharani met our chairman,” said G.Boriah, the director (tea development), Tea Board of India, over phone from Delhi today. “We asked them to meet the district magistrate and trade union leaders with his proposal.”

Earlier, Sinha had discussed the proposal with the Dooars Branch of the Indian Tea Association (DBITA), of which Bharnobari is a member.

“We have arranged for a meeting on January 10 at our office where representatives of the prospective entrepreneur will meet central trade union leaders to discuss the takeover,” said Prabir Bhattacharjee, the DBITA secretary.

R. Ranjit, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri, confirmed the development.

Bharnobari Tea Estate, with 1,856 workers on its payrolls, has been closed since December 30, 2005. The total dues of the garden, according to the district labour department, are around Rs 3.2 crore apart from a bank loan of Rs 8.07 crore.“

“We appreciate the move and want the garden to reopen. However, the workers’ interests should be safeguarded,” said Prabhat Mukherjee, the general secretary of the Intuc-affiliated National Union of Plantation Workers.

Source: The Telegraph