Tea workers plan stir against non-payment

Workers of the Bharnobari Tea Estate at Kalchini in the Dooars today blocked the National Highway 31 near Old Hasimara bus stand demanding immediate clearance of alleged pending wages and last 10 rations.
Mrs Debi Lohar, a protester said that the workers were unpaid for the months of February and March. Following a workers’ stir, the plantation manager Mr Jayanto Banarjee had assured to clear all the dues by last Saturday but the management has failed to do so. "We were told that we would be paid on Wednesday but were not. The manager is not here, and finding no other way to voice our problems, we blocked the highway,” she said.
Another agitating worker Mr Raju Biswakarma alleged the workers had not received ration for the past ten weeks. “We have run out of our resources and yet the management is unconcerned. Most of our co-workers are starving and they have no money to buy food. If the plantation management does not clear our dues by Saturday we could disrupt train services in the area and also boycott the Lok Sabha polls,” said Mr Biswakarma.
The agitators withdrew following intervention by the BDO Kalchini, OC Jaigaon police station and OC Hasimara police out post.
The BDO Kalchini Mr Rajendraraj Somdas said that the Bharnobarie management has sent Rs 10 lakh for the workers’ payment for the month of February. “We are also trying to clear their dues for the month of March by 13 April but we cannot assure anything about ration,” the BDO said.