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Bonus issue must not escalate into law and order problem: Ghatowar

By Staff Correspondent

DIBRUGARH, Aug 30 - Taking serious note of the growing apprehension among the workers and their dependents over the issue of percentage of bonus in the plantations, Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) president and former Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar on Thursday said that demand for 20% bonus must not snowball into a law and order problem in the otherwise serene tea estate surroundings.

Addressing newsmen following the central executive body meeting of the ACMS at its office here, Ghatowar said that tea companies have been traditionally doling out 20% bonus every year and the practice ought to be followed to frustrate any kind of unrest.

�Although bonus is calculated on the basis of profit and loss, tea companies and ACMS have always settled for 20% bonus in the past. We are expecting 20% bonus this year too and so we have issued letters to the planters in this regard already. We have asked them to disburse maximum bonus (i.e. 20%) 15 days ahead of the Durga Puja festival. ACMS believes that through negotiations respective tea companies will maintain the tradition of giving 20% bonus,� said Ghatowar.

On the ability of some sick tea estates, the veteran trade union leader said that such gardens have also disbursed 20% bonus in the past by adding ex gratia to the minimum 8.33% bonus.

�All these were worked out in the past through negotiation between the representatives of the respective tea companies and Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS). We are hopeful that this year too tea companies will agree to pay the 20% bonus at one go or in two instalments,� stated Ghatowar.

The ACMS president who was flanked by general secretary Rupesh Gowalla also reiterated its demand of equal wage and equal benefits to the workers of the state government-owned Assam Tea Corporation Limited gardens.

He said that the workers toiling in the ATCL gardens were entitled to the same wage, ration and other benefits as workers in other gardens. The workers in ATCL gardens are paid only Rs 137 as daily wage whereas others are benefitting with Rs 167 as daily wage, besides rations, PF and gratuity etc. The state government must ensure that the workers in the 14 tea estates of ATCL also received 20% bonus, he stressed.

Speaking on the impending NRC publication, Ghatowar said that all Indians must find their names in the NRC and that no foreigners be included. In case names of some members from the tea garden working communities do not feature in the NRC, the garden management and government must ensure that they are enrolled because the community has been recognised as one of the original inhabitants of the state, said Ghatowar.

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Bonus issue must not escalate into law and order problem: Ghatowar

DIBRUGARH, Aug 30 - Taking serious note of the growing apprehension among the workers and their dependents over the issue of percentage of bonus in the plantations, Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) president and former Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar on Thursday said that demand for 20% bonus must not snowball into a law and order problem in the otherwise serene tea estate surroundings.

Addressing newsmen following the central executive body meeting of the ACMS at its office here, Ghatowar said that tea companies have been traditionally doling out 20% bonus every year and the practice ought to be followed to frustrate any kind of unrest.

�Although bonus is calculated on the basis of profit and loss, tea companies and ACMS have always settled for 20% bonus in the past. We are expecting 20% bonus this year too and so we have issued letters to the planters in this regard already. We have asked them to disburse maximum bonus (i.e. 20%) 15 days ahead of the Durga Puja festival. ACMS believes that through negotiations respective tea companies will maintain the tradition of giving 20% bonus,� said Ghatowar.

On the ability of some sick tea estates, the veteran trade union leader said that such gardens have also disbursed 20% bonus in the past by adding ex gratia to the minimum 8.33% bonus.

�All these were worked out in the past through negotiation between the representatives of the respective tea companies and Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS). We are hopeful that this year too tea companies will agree to pay the 20% bonus at one go or in two instalments,� stated Ghatowar.

The ACMS president who was flanked by general secretary Rupesh Gowalla also reiterated its demand of equal wage and equal benefits to the workers of the state government-owned Assam Tea Corporation Limited gardens.

He said that the workers toiling in the ATCL gardens were entitled to the same wage, ration and other benefits as workers in other gardens. The workers in ATCL gardens are paid only Rs 137 as daily wage whereas others are benefitting with Rs 167 as daily wage, besides rations, PF and gratuity etc. The state government must ensure that the workers in the 14 tea estates of ATCL also received 20% bonus, he stressed.

Speaking on the impending NRC publication, Ghatowar said that all Indians must find their names in the NRC and that no foreigners be included. In case names of some members from the tea garden working communities do not feature in the NRC, the garden management and government must ensure that they are enrolled because the community has been recognised as one of the original inhabitants of the state, said Ghatowar.