Assam CM directs state officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses before Durga Puja

Guwahati (Assam) [India], October 13 (ANI): Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday in a meeting with District Collectors (DCs), and Superintendents of Police (SPs) via video conferencing in Guwahati directed the officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses at the fixed rate before Durga Puja.

In a series of tweets, the Chief Minister’s office informed that Sonowal also reviewed the preparations for giving ‘land pattas’ to 1 lakh landless indigenous families by December 2020.

“Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal reviewed the progress of various schemes in a meeting with DCs and SPs via video conferencing in Guwahati. Inter alia, preparations for giving land pattas to 1 lakh landless indigenous families by December this year was deliberated in the meeting,” the CMO tweeted.

“The Chief Minister directed officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses at the fixed rate before Durga Puja and ensure that all eligible beneficiaries avail benefits of schemes like Arundhati and Orunodoi,” it said in another tweet.

Sonowal further directed the officials to give special attention to law and order situation during Durga Puja and asked them to take steps to cooperate with the public during the festival.

“Reviewing law & order situation in the districts, the CM directed officials to give special attention to the same during Durga Puja festivities. The CM directed officials to take steps to cooperate with the public in observance of Durga Puja rituals and create awareness about following #COVID19 protocols,” CMO said.

CMO added that the Chief Minister further directed the officials to take necessary steps to expedite the issuance of Aadhaar card in all districts of the state.

The week-long festivities for Durga Puja will begin from October 22. (ANI)

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Assam court holds 25 guilty in lynching of 73-yr-old tea garden doctor last year – cities

A court in Assam on Monday pronounced 25 people guilty in a case, where a mob had lynched a senior doctor around 13 months ago.

District and sessions judge Robin Phukan held 25 of the accused guilty for the murder of Dr Deben Dutta (73). The victim was the resident doctor of Teok Tea Estate (TE) hospital in Upper Assam’s Jorhat district.

The court acquitted six accused in the case, while another accused had died in judicial custody.

Also read: Two lynched, beheaded, set on fire over witchcraft suspicion in Assam

The quantum of punishment for the 25 accused will be announced next Monday (October 19).

An irate mob, mostly comprising tea garden workers, had assaulted Dr Dutta on August 31, 2019, holding him responsible for the death of a patient in Teok TE. He was rushed to the Jorhat Medical College, where he was declared brought dead.

The pictures of the assault, which soon went viral on social media, created a sense of terror among doctors posted in tea gardens across Assam.

At least seven doctors, who were working in tea gardens, had resigned within a week of Dr Dutta’s murder.

Police had arrested 32 people, including three brothers of the deceased patient, following the attack under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Assam Medicare Service Persons & Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2011.

The incident was condemned by Indian Medical Association (IMA) and doctors in Assam also resorted to a one-day token strike in protest.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Investigation into the case was concluded within a record time of 21 days and a voluminous 602-page charge sheet was submitted on September 21, 2019.

Assam Police said this is the

Jalpaiguri tea garden suspends operation, 1,500 left jobless- The New Indian Express


JALPAIGURI: The Saili Tea Estate in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district suspended operations on Monday, leaving around 1,500 people jobless ahead of the festive season, officials said.

The management put up a suspension of work notice at the main gate in the morning, workers at the tea estate said.

Negotiations were underway for the Durga Puja bonus and the operations were suspended amid the talks, they said.

The management refused to give 20 per cent bonus to the workers as being given by the other tea gardens, they added. The workers were offered 15.5 per cent bonus, which led to protests at the tea garden a few days back.

“When we arrived for work in the morning, we saw the suspension of work notice at the gate. Also, the garden officials have left, following which protests started,” said Swapna Pradhan, a worker of the tea estate.

Officials of the Malbazar police station were at the spot to tackle the situation. The workers demanded resumption of operations and payment of 20 per cent bonus, threatening to intensify their agitation.

“If the administration does not take immediate action, we will boycott the next year’s assembly elections. We do not get any benefit, neither do we get fair pay. We need 20 per cent bonus and the garden has to be opened before the Durga Puja,” said Shanta Kujur, another worker at the garden.

The garden authorities could not be reached for comments.

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Pre-Order This Special Himalayan Tea and Help Support a Nepalese Tea Garden

Just in time for colder weather, a premium tea company is launching a cool program that any tea lover should be interested in. From now through the end of October, Rare Tea Company is offering customers the opportunity to pre-buy an autumn harvest for a “Special Himalayan Harvest” black tea—all the while supporting a family-run organic tea garden in Nepal.

Paul Winch-Furness

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Paul Winch-Furness

Rare Tea Company, which operates through direct trade and buys from farmers at prices the farmers set—as opposed to buying from brokers, commodity markets, or middle-men—counts Claridge’s in London, Noma in Copenhagen, and Benu in San Francisco among its customers. However, Rare Tea Company has lost 70 percent of its business due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting devastation that has rippled across the hospitality industry, founder and CEO Henrietta Lovell told Food & Wine. Much of the demand for high-end tea has fallen away, she said.

“We want to buy as much as we can from these farms because they really need it, but the problem is not supply, it’s demand,” she said over FaceTime. 

A handful of large companies supply the majority of tea sold in Europe and North America, and most of the communities supplying that tea live in poverty. Programs like this give consumers a chance to shop ethically, with their money going more directly to the farmer.

For the past decade, the company has been working with Jun Chiyabari, described by Rare Tea Company as “one of the best tea gardens in the world.” With business down, Rare Tea Company didn’t have the funds or demand to purchase an autumn harvest that Jun Chiyabari needed to sell. That’s where the Special Himalayan Harvest tea comes in. After talking with the team at the tea garden,

Homes for tea garden workers

Mamata Banerjee has announced that homes will be built for over 3,500 workers of various tea gardens in the first phase of the Bengal government’s Cha Sundari project and jobs will be provided to more than 300 former militants and linkmen of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation.

The chief minister made the two announcements while holding a meeting in Siliguri on Tuesday to review different development projects in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri districts.

State finance minister Amit Mitra had announced Cha Sundari, a scheme to build homes for tea garden workers, in the budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal earlier this year. A sum of Rs 500 crore was allotted for the project in the budget.

Speaking at the review meeting at Uttarkanya, the north Bengal branch secretariat, Mamata said: “We will initiate the project shortly and 3,694 tea garden workers’ families will be provided with homes in the first phase. Of these houses, 2,641 will come up in Alipurduar, while 1,053 will be built in Jalpaiguri. We want to ensure that all homeless tea garden workers have their own houses. The plan is to finish the project within three years.”

In the second major announcement, Mamata announced jobs for former KLO militants and linkmen.

“In total, around 300 such people who have returned to the mainstream would be provided with jobs. They are from different districts of north Bengal. Today (Tuesday), we are providing jobs to 130 ex-KLO activists. Another 161 would be provided with jobs tomorrow (Wednesday),” the chief minister said.

Mamata also announced Rs 5 crore for the Kamtapuri Bhasa Academy constituted by the state government for conservation of Kamtapuri (a variant of the Rajbanshi language).

She set aside another Rs 5 crore for the renovation of the Buxa Fort in Alipurduar district.

“The chief minister made a meticulous move