Siliguri, February 24: All we know about famous Darjeeling tea but little bit we know about the grief of workers of Tea Garden in North Bengal. Deaths from malnutrition, suicide owing to poverty are regular phenomena in those tea estates. In a change, the Bengal government has directed all tea estates in the Darjeeling hills to pay by March 10 the bonus dues of workers for last year.
"We have directed tea gardens in the hills to clear the remaining 50 percent of bonus by March 10. It is due since Durga Puja last year. The interim hike has been implemented in 95 percent of the tea gardens in the Terai and the Dooars. The next round of dialogue to fix minimum wages for plantation workers will be held in Calcutta on March 12," said the labour minister.
In last year, it was decided to give tea workers in the hills a bonus of 19.75 percent. But unfortunately, 50% of the payment remains unclear. The due bonuses if are not cleared within the given date, the tea estate authorities will face strict legal action.
The Gorkhaland agitation in the area caused much loss to tea gardens which already face a cash crunch. Then it was anticipated that tea gardens would not be very generous about payments. Last year, at least 70% of the crop was lost due to the strike.