GUWAHATI, Sept 4 - The Assam Tea Corporation (ATC) gardens owe an amount of Rs 168,81,12,598.16 as provident fund (PF) dues to their workers in the period from April 1, 2005 to March 31, 2017.
Stating this in the Assembly today, Tea Tribes Welfare Minister Pallab Lochan Das said the tea garden managements had repeatedly been instructed to pay the accumulated arrears. Stern action was also being initiated on the defaulters as per law, he added.
A total of 19 tea gardens have been defaulting on the matter of payment of PF amounts.
�These tea estates owe an accumulated PF due of over Rs 168 crore. Matters worsened due to apathy of the previous Congress regimes that did nothing to realize the arrears from defaulting tea managements. A Cabinet subcommittee is now looking into the matter... We will ensure that all the defaulters pay up. In fact, property of eight tea gardens has already been attached in this connection,� Das said.
The minister added that the detailed accounts concerning PF of the workers were not available and that the process for getting the detailed information had started.
Earlier, raising the matter during question hour, Durga Bhumij (Congress) accused the government of doing little to realize the huge dues from the defaulting garden managements. �The government must ensure that the workers get their PF amounts within a stipulated time frame,� he said.
Rajdeep Goala (Congress) also accused the government of inaction and said that languishing workers must be given their dues.