More work to be done for the tea industry

Mr Debabrata Biswas, the general secretary, All India Forward Bloc, alleged that the state government was practically doing nothing to regularize the small tea plantations and taking advantage of this apathy, the estate owners were depriving the plantation workers of all their legitimate dues.

He further said that there was no slump in tea industry with the market being steady everywhere.

“Yet the irony is that the total production of tea in India is much less than the tea being produced by a small country like Kenya. The government is not interested in reviving the tea industry. Take or instance the case of Darjeeling district. The tea industry is 150 years old. So many people are depending on it for their livelihood. Yet, there is no tea zone and the export mechanism is not as strong as it should be.
“The government instead of reviving the tea plantation is selling them to the real estate promoters. Besides, it is giving vest land for setting up small plantations and they are not being regularized and brought under the Plantation Labour Act. The owners are taking advantage of it and depriving the workers of the dues, which they as plantation workers are entitled to as per the PL Act,” he added. The Darjeeling district secretary of the AIFB, Mr Sritish Bhattacharya said that it was a known fact in the district that a move was going on behind the screen to sell out Bagdogra, Dagapur and Nischintapur tea plantations to the Realtors.