DIBRUGARH, Feb 7 � In the wake of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi pressing for compliance with payment of the minimum daily wages of Rs 169 in tea plantations and other industries of the State, the All Assam Small Tea Growers� Association (AASTGA) has expressed its inability to pay the notified minimum wages to workers engaged in their plantations.
The small tea growers� body, during its executive body meeting held at its head office in Lahoal on Thursday, resolved that the growers cannot comply with the stipulated minimum wages since the price of green tea leaves is unpredictable and too meagre. The small tea growers said that the unstable prices of green tea leaves have made them insecure.
Although a price monitoring committee has been constituted in each district with the Deputy Commissioner as its chairperson, the panel has failed to ensure the minimum benchmark price for green leaves.
�Under the present situation, it is impossible for the small tea growers to pay Rs 169 as minimum daily wages to the plantation workers,� said Rohit Borgohain, general secretary, AASTGA.
The small tea growers� body also resolved to ask the State Government to clarify whether small tea growers came under the Agriculture or Industry category. �The State Government must tell us whether small tea growers are farmers or industrialists,� Borgohain said.
On the Plant Protection Code, the small tea growers said they require at least one year�s time to educate and create awareness among the growers about the use of chemicals, as their members were spread in the remotest places across the State. The AASTGA also said that the Tea Board must also take the responsibility to create awareness about the Plant Protection Code among the growers.
On the cess charged from the small tea growers by the State Government, the small tea growers� body said that the process must progress legally and receipts must be issued to the growers.
Among various other resolutions, the leaders of the small tea growers� body resolved that the State Government must allot some funds in its Annual Budget for the welfare and growth of the small tea growers in the State.