Stir over workers’ suspension

JALPAIGURI, Jan. 27: A section of the Dangapara Division of Madarihat Land Project of Duncans Tea Company workers today confined the assistant manager of the tea plantation, Mr Manprit Singh, after he suspended four workers today.

According to the West Bengal State Chaa Majdur Sangha (affiliated to Hind Majdur Sabha) secretary, Mr Anjan Chakraborty, an allegation of misappropriation of funds by manipulating the paybook of workers' payment was leveled against the plantation official.

He also said that the official had instructed the labourers to pluck at least 30 kg tea leaves per day despite knowing that they normally pluck 24 kg of leaves on an average.

The district PDS secretary, Mr Jainal Pramanik, said that the assistant manager today suspended four workers of the plantation following which, the workers gheraoed him for almost six hours.

The SDO Falakata, Mr Alias Vez, said that he sent police to the plantation after the trade Union leaders informed him of the matter.

The assistant manager Mr Manprit Singh, however, denied all the allegations. “We have not manipulated the paybook and the four were suspended since they had misinformed the media about the management of the plantation,” Mr Singh said. The agitators withdrew after the plantation manager, Mr Sanjay Gurtu, assured them that their grievances would be heard at a meeting with the authorities tonight.