DIBRUGARH, Sept 24 - Now that most of the tea gardens have more or less decided to the 20 per cent bonus pay outs to the tea labourers, Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) president Paban Singh Ghatowar and secretary Dileswar Tanti have appealed to the workers to spend their money wisely.
Ghatowar and Tanti said the workers have been urged by ACMS local leaders to put their bonus earnings in children�s education or in savings. The Sangha is also trying to inculcate a greater acceptability of banking procedures among the tea workers, so that their payments are made into their bank accounts. While provident fund (PF) payments are generally made through bank accounts, the workers will have to agree to receiving their bonus payments through banks. While the average PF pay out works out in the range of one to two lakh rupees, tea workers on an average receive about Rs 6,000 per person by way of bonus, if agreed on 20%. It is quite common in a tea garden labourer�s family to have three to four earning members. So a four-person earning family gets to see about Rs 30,000 as bonus cash.
Ghatowar said the workers spend their bonus amounts during the Durga Puja festivities itself, leaving nothing for Diwali, Holi, and other festivals. He said he would be happy if the workers agree to save about 20 per cent of their bonus amounts for their children education-related expenditure. He said the payment through bank is a good idea, but needs to be approved by the workers, as they have a tendency to �believe in cash only�.
Meanwhile, a number of tea majors have commenced making the bonus payments, as per information gathered till this evening. These companies include 21 gardens of Tata group, 11 gardens of MK Shah Exports, 14 gardens of Assam Company India, seven of Warren Tea, 16 of Apeejay Surendra-Singlo India, eight gardens of Gillanders Arthbutnot, five of Rossel Industries, eight gardens of James Warren Tea, 10 gardens of Dhunseri Tea, four of Stuart Holl, two of Joonktollee, four gardens of the Jorehaut Group, two of Goodricke and five of the Jalannagar Group.
Among the individually-held tea gardens, those which have made 20 per cent bonus payments include Langkashi, Bihubor, Borsila, Silonibari, Tiloijan, Jamirah, Nilmoni, Kanai and Sautoli tea estates. A few of the tea companies have expressed their desire to make the payment in two installments. ACMS sources said these requests would be amicably addressed.