DOOMDOOMA, April 2 - Despite strict rules, a section of unscrupulous businessmen has increased the prices of essential commodities which has become a matter of concern for the people here. Tea garden labourers and the daily-wage earners are the worst sufferers in this regard.
A few members of the Doomdooma Press Club (DPC) who visited the tea gardens of Doomdooma circle, namely Daimukhia, Rupai, Deeamoolie, etc., found that the people in tea gardens are following the lockdown better than the urban people. The members of the DPC explained various preventive measures to the labourers. The labourers informed the local scribes that they were maintaining the social distancing. The main problem they were facing was the increase in prices of essential commodities. The rice, which they used to purchase in the range of Rs 27-28 per kg before the lockdown, has now become Rs 34-35. Similarly, the prices of dal, mustard oil and potato have also increased up to Rs 5 to 10 per kg.
Moreover, a few gardens here are yet to disburse the fortnightly wages to the labourers while some others have paid half wages. In such a situation, the tea labourers and the daily wage workers facing a tough time.
From Thursday onwards, free rice distribution process to the FSS Card holders has started in Doomdooma Municipal Board area through the fair price shops. But, the same process is yet to start in the rural and tea garden areas here. They also alleged that a section of fair price agents of the rural and tea garden areas of Doomdooma circle do not distribute the fair price materials on a regular basis.
Under such circumstances, Doomdooma MLA Durga Bhumij started distributing rice among the poor families of his constituency. On Wednesday, he distributed rice among the poor families of Daimukhia gaon panchayat area.
Meanwhile, the Doomdooma Branch Committee of the Assam Tea Tribes Students� Association (ATTSA) has demanded the tea companies and the bought leaf factories to pay wages and salaries to labourers and employees during the lockdown period and asked the government to take some positive steps for survival of their families.
In a press statement, Babul Panika, president of the Doomdooma Branch Committee of ATTSA, said that the tea companies and the bought leaf factories should make these payments to the labourers and the employees as per provision of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.