DOOMDOOMA, June 11 - Assam Company India Limited, formerly known as the Assam Tea Company was the first tea company in Assam set up by the colonial British in 1839 with its headquarters at Nazira. This oldest tea company of the State having 14 big tea gardens across the State, has been suffering a lot due to sheer mismanagement.
The 14 gardens of the company situated in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat and Nagaon districts are: Dighaltarang, Naduwa, Thanai, Rongagorah, Maijan, Dinjan, Greenwood, Hezelbank, Domar Dallang, Khumtai, Kathalguri, Mohkhuti, Kondoli and Borbaruah. But, due to the mismanagement by the company, these gardens have been suffering a lot for the last couple of years. But now the situation has become so bad that the company has failed to pay wages to its labourers. Not only the labourers, the staff and the managers of these gardens have also not received their salaries for the last several months.
Dighaltarang Tea Estate is situated at Doomdooma. The labourers of the garden had to receive their fortnightly wages on last Thursday, but they have not got it till today. Moreover, they have not received their rations too. The ASEB has disconnected electricity supply to the garden due to non-payment of electricity tariff. On the other hand, the AGCL has also stopped supplying gas to the factory of the garden due to non-payment of bills. The management has not deposited the nearly two crore rupees for the Provident Fund of the labourers. Around Rs 80 lakh has also not been deposited by the company for the gratuity of the labourers.
It is alleged that the present owner of the company AK Jajodia has diverted the funds of the company to invest in some other business in which he suffered a great loss and this has led to the present situation. Once the productivity of the gardens of this company was very high and the company used to get good rates for their manufactured tea. But due to the lack of proper maintenance, the productions in the gardens of the company has also gone down.
The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha ( ACMS ) has expressed serious concern over this situation. Addressing a press conference at the ACMS Doomdooma Branch Office, its general secretary and a former labour minister of the State Dileswar Tanti and the general secretary of Doomdooma branch Rupesh Gowala on Saturday urged the company to pay the wages to the labourers. They also said that the ACMS had been urging the company authority to redress the grievances of the labourers since 2016. They also alleged that due to the negligence of the State Government, the situation in the gardens of this company has turned worse. The trade union body has declared blockade of manufactured tea from the gardens of the company from June 15. The ACMS unit president of Dighaltarang TE Moni Sonar and assistant secretary Bijoy Gowala were also present at the press conference.