JORHAT, Sept 25 - The Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Narayan Konwar has directed the management of tea gardens in the district to declare the rate of bonus, to be paid to the workers, by September 30 and end disbursement by next four to five days.
Durga Puja this year commences from October 16. Payment of bonus to the industrial employees is mandatory under the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965. As per the Act, employees eligible for bonus have to be paid at a minimum rate of 8.33 per cent and a maximum of 20 per cent on the basis of the employers� earnings the previous fiscal.
The Deputy Commissioner held a meeting with representatives of various tea growers� association at his office chamber today to discuss about payment of bonus to tea estate workers to ensure that the process passes off peacefully.
It may be mentioned here that last year trouble had erupted in a garden under Titabar civil sub-division during bonus disbursement that led to declaring of lockout in the garden for three days with police deployment in the estate for several days.
Senior officials from Police department, district administration, Labour department and district level office-bearers of Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) � the oldest and largest tea workers� union in the State � attended the meeting.
The representatives of tea growers� bodies that attended the meeting were: Assam Tea Planters� Association, Assam Branch Indian Tea Association, Tea Association of India and North Eastern Tea Association.
Konwar told The Assam Tribune this evening that he has asked the tea associations to direct their respective member-gardens to conclude the process of discussions with workers� union and announce the quantum of bonus to be paid by September 30.
The Deputy Commissioner said that the management of the gardens should then disburse bonus thereafter and complete it within next four to five days.
He said that the process should not be further delayed so that workers get sufficient time before puja to purchase their requirements and no room for discontent is left.
Konwar said that he asked the tea associations to ask their member-gardens to be in touch with the nearest police station/outpost and the district or civil sub-divisional administration during the payment process.
He said that the administration will be keeping a close watch on the situation. There are about 85 tea gardens across Jorhat district.
Meanwhile, the ACMS leadership from its Central office in Dibrugarh has sought that gardens pay bonus at the maximum rate of 20 per cent and in one instalment by not splitting the bonus amount in two instalments.