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Cachar admin convenes meeting over Puja bonus to tea workers

By Staff Correspondent

Silchar, Sept 22: Ahead of the Durga Puja festivities, the Cachar district administration held a meeting in connection with the payment of bonus to tea garden workers.

In the meeting discussion on various issues of disbursing bonuses to the tea garden workers was held.

Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli informed that the tea garden management should implement the rate of wages notified by the government failing which punitive action as per law would be taken against the garden (s) management. She also expressed her displeasure regarding the arrear payment tendency of the garden managements.

Bhaskar Chaliha, secretary, Surma Valley Branch of Indian Tea Association (SVBITA) and Saradindu Bhattacharjee, secretary, Tea Association of India(TAI) Barak Valley informed in the meeting that the management of Cachar tea estates had no problems in the past regarding settlement and payment of bonus to their workers and this year also it will be settled and paid peacefully and smoothly even though they are not privy to the balance sheets of different tea gardens. Chaliha informed the Deputy Commissioner the reasons in detail and S. Sikdar, Senior Manager of Dooloo Tea Estate also informed the Deputy Commissioner regarding non-receipt and lapse of funds during the financial year 2019-20.

Bhattacharjee further stated that all concerned authorities had been already intimated on the directions given by the government regarding the payment of bonus. He also stressed that due to the non-availability of ATM kiosks in the majority of the tea gardens, adequate business correspondence should be made by the banks to the tea gardens for payment of bonus smoothly.

Ajit Singh, general secretary, Barak Cha Sramik Union requested all the tea garden managements to disperse the bonus well ahead of the ensuing puja to enable the workers to do their puja marketing and also reiterated that bonus should not be disbursed on the day of Maha Ashtami. Adequate denomination of cash should be provided by the bank and also security personnel should be deployed by the Police for smooth payment in all tea gardens. The Department of Excise should conduct inspections in the tea garden areas to stop the sale of illicit liquor as well.

S. Mishra, assistant general secretary of the union, expressed his views regarding the rate of bonus to be paid and requested that those gardens which are financially sound should increase the rate of the bonus payable, i.e. more than 8.33 per cent and payment should not be paid on the Mahashtami day.

Chunilal Bhattacharjee, president, Akhil Bharatiya Cha Mazdoor Sangha requested the members to follow the payment of the Bonus Act in letter and spirit and expressed his displeasure in the disparity regarding payment of bonus and wages in different tea gardens of Cachar district.

Additional SP (headquarters) Partha Pratim Saikia requested the garden management to inform the police beforehand of the schedule to be observed by the garden management for payment of bonus and ensured that adequate security would be provided to them. The meeting was also attended by Assistant Labour Commissioner Barnali Changkakoti, Assistant Commissioner Eva Das and other officials.

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