GUWAHATI, Oct 13 � Various tea industry stakeholders have complained to the Centre that workers in the tea gardens of the State are not getting minimum wages and other monetary and non-cash components of remuneration as per the norm, and the Union Government will take up the issue with the Assam government to ensure that such anomalies are removed.
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here today that the issue of minimum wages not being paid to workers despite government orders was raised during the Tea Industry Stakeholders Consultation, which was organised in the city jointly by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Department of Industries and Commerce and the Tea Board of India.
Sitharaman said the Centre would take up the matter of minimum wages, besides other monetary and non-monetary benefits, with the State and ensure that workers are not deprived of their dues.
She said the tea sector is a �fragile� one, whose workers are mostly only trained for work in that sector.
The Minister said the Union Government would �link and dovetail� Central schemes in fields including sanitation, healthcare, education, drinking water, among others for tea workers with existing schemes to supplement them.
She said the issue of land pattas not being given to small tea growers was also raised during the meeting and she asked the State Commerce and Industry Minister to look into the matter, who in turn said that local authorities would provide certificates to such growers so that they can avail of bank loans and other facilities.
The stakeholders� meet was attended by representatives of various segments associated with the tea industry including small growers, auctioneers, traders, planters, tea workers, part-time workers, besides experts, Central and State Government officials and ministers. Delegates from North Bengal also participated.
Sitharaman said the meeting was held to understand the concerns of the sector and it discussed issues pertaining to problems of various stakeholders, falling yield, quality of produce, branding and marketing, export, functioning of the Tea Board and so on.