GUWAHATI, May 7 - Tea garden managements in the State, particularly those violating labour and employment laws, may have to pay the price now. The State labour department has begun inspecting the tea estates to verify if the managements are complying with the labour laws.
�We inspected one garden yesterday at Sonari, and detected violations regarding provision of quarters for workers. While there are around 850 workers, there are lodging provisions for around 450 of them. The garden has been put on notice, and if they fail to comply, prosecution proceedings will be drawn against them,� Labour Commissioner Narayan Konwar said.
There were other lapses like condition of the quarters and other facilities meant for the workers. The garden will be given 15 days to comply with laid down provisions. This was the first inspection in a garden, Konwar said, adding more inspections would follow.
The labour department has also taken a stern view of the gardens failing to implement the interim wage hike. Most of such erring gardens are located in Barak valley. Last year in July, the State government had enhanced daily wages of tea workers by an interim amount of Rs 30 per day, with retrospective effect from March 1 that year.
The workers will get the interim hike till the finalisation of the revised minimum wages, which is likely to be fixed once the committee on minimum wages headed by senior bureaucrat Kumar Sanjay Krishna submits its report.
Officials in the labour department said there have been reports that some gardens have failed to implement the interim wage hike and pay the arrears. �Inspections are being planned and action will be taken accordingly,� they said.
With the interim hike, workers in Brahmaputra valley are entitled to a daily wage of Rs 167, while those of Barak valley get Rs 145 along with an �attendance allowance�.
There are around 12.5 lakh tea workers in some 850 gardens in both the valleys.