SILCHAR, Nov 29 - Families of the employees of Ayelabari tea garden and Hatikhira tea garden, in the fringe areas under Karimganj district are reeling under severe hardships owing to the closure of the gardens for a long time.
While Ayelabari garden has been closed for more than 72 days, Hatikhira garden was locked out by the management on September 25 this year following a row over payment of Puja bonus.
It has been learnt that against this backdrop, North Karimganj legislator Kamalakshya Dey Purakayastha along with his Mariani colleague Rupjyoti Kurmi staged a protest demonstration outside the Assembly highlighting the plight of the tea garden workers and labourers.
Interestingly, Saradindu Bhattacharjee, secretary, Tea Association of India, Barak Valley branch said that while steps are being taken to reopen Hatikhira tea garden, the Ayelabari garden is suffering from lack of ownership issues.
District Development Commissioner of Karimganj, RK Laskar, while speaking to The Assam Tribune informed that a tripartite meeting has been called on Saturday to reopen Hatikhira garden. But he maintained that the Labour Department is maintaining constant pressure on the agencies concerned regarding the fate of Ayelabari tea garden. According to sources, both Tea Association of India and the Indian Tea Association have denied to claim membership status of Ayelabari garden after its management had washed its hands off from the operational responsibilities. The Government is looking for an owner to assign the functional responsibilities of the garden.
DN Baroi, assistant general secretary, Barak Cha Shramik Union has made it clear that both the gardens must be reopened with immediate effect in the interest of the labourers.