GUWAHATI, Dec 17 � The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Assam Pradesh today accused the ruling Congress in the State of trying to tarnish the image of the Narendra Modi government by politicising and misleading the people on the issue of suspension of subsidised ration to tea labourers.
The party while blaming the Congress government for the deplorable living condition of the tea labourers alleged that the Congress and the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) were in nexus and were exploiting the tea labourers and depriving them of their basic amenities.
Addressing mediapersons at the party head office here, State BJP president Siddhartha Bhattacharya and MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasha said that the Assam government was adopting a double standard on the issue of ration to tea labourers and spreading rumours.
�In the letter from the Principal Secretary, Government of Assam, Food and Civil Supplies, dated December 23, 2013, it has been clearly mentioned that in view of the implementation of the National Food Security Act, sub-allocation of foodgrains in bulk to organisations, institutions/management groups of tea gardens etc., will be stopped,� said Bhattacharya and referring to the meeting that was held in September this year on implementation of the Act in tea garden areas and attended by Prithibi Majhi and representatives from various labour unions including the ACMS, the senior BJP leader asked the Congress government to recollect the resolutions of the meet.
It needs to be mentioned here that this crucial meet had concluded that the present system of distribution of ration through management/tea garden managers etc., will not be operational from the start of the National Food Security Act in the State.
"The Congress is now taking recourse to lies on the issue of ration and trying to create unrest in the tea belt," said Bhattacharya.
Bhattacharya said that although the minimum wages per day notified by the Government of Assam for semi skilled workers is Rs 175, the daily wage of tea labour in cash and in kind is Rs 130. In Assam the tea labour gets Rs 94 as cash while in Barak Valley the tea labour gets Rs 75 as cash. "The benefit to tea garden owners is Rs 45 per labour. If we calculate this benefit by taking into account the nine lakh tea workers, the everyday loot is Rs 4.5 crore," he said insisting on an inquiry into the matter at the earliest.
On the other hand, Tasha, assuring the tea labourers, said that the BJP government at the Centre was committed towards their development and would never take any step that would be detrimental to their welfare.
"In the name of providing ration, the Congress government has been exploiting the tea labourers and increasing its own coffer with the aid of the tea garden managements and a few organisations representing the tea labourers," said Tasha demanding that the tea labourers should get all the benefits under the Plantation Labour Act.