GUWAHATI, Sept 5 - The State Government today announced 20 per cent bonus to the workers of the tea gardens run by the Assam Tea Corporation (ATC).
An official press release said here this evening that the announcement was made by the State Government following a direction from Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
It needs mention here that the private sector tea industry of the State recently announced that it is facing a severe financial crisis this year and going by the present financial health of the industry, it may not afford to pay its workers bonus at the rate of 20 per cent and it will go by the payment of Bonus Act 1965 this time.
On the Government directive to the ATC on the bonus issue, it is alleged by knowledgeable circles that though the ATC has been asked to pay 20 per cent bonus to the workers of the gardens it is running, the Government has not directed this public sector business entity to pay the wages to its garden workers at par with the private sector gardens. The ATC pays a much less amount of money as daily cash wage to its garden worker.
While the private sector tea estates pay Rs 167 to each of their workers as daily cash wage, the ATC is paying Rs 137 to each of its garden workers as daily cash wage. It needs mention here that the daily wage of a tea garden worker of the State consists of two components of cash and kind.