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Tea industry passing through critical times: NETA

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Nov 1 - The Union Government should carry out a comprehensive study on the sustainability of the tea industry, pleaded North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty, while addressing the 17th biennial general meeting of the Association at Kaziranga today.

On the prevailing uproar over the issue of minimum wages of the tea workers in the State, he said that the planters are aggrieved when only the cash component of the wage is taken into consideration and is compared with the minimum wages of the other scheduled employments.

Traditionally, the State�s tea industry has been paying wages in cash and kind, which is also allowed by the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. The in-kind portion consists of requirements under the Plantation Labour Act (PLA), 1951 and bilateral agreements with the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) at different points of time.

In the Brahmaputra Valley, the bilateral agreement from time to time between employers� associations � the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA) � and employees� union (ACMS) is a time-tested system, which also takes care of inflation.

Now, it is feared that too much intervention by the Government, without going into the depth of the dynamics of the working pattern in a garden, may force the tea planters to dishonour the 1969 agreement the tea planters had arrived at with their workers� unions, which made retaining a minimum labour strength obligatory for each of the tea estates. Thus, it may in turn create an unemployment problem.

�As the Assam tea industry is too brittle; therefore, we hope all concerned will handle this industry with care. Wages constitute over 60 per cent of total cost of production. The prices of tea have not been able to keep pace with the rise in wages,� he said.

He requested the Tea Board to put E-Forms of every manufacturer in public domain so that growers can easily access them and thus a complete transparency could be maintained in implementing the price sharing formula.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

Tea industry passing through critical times: NETA

GUWAHATI, Nov 1 - The Union Government should carry out a comprehensive study on the sustainability of the tea industry, pleaded North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty, while addressing the 17th biennial general meeting of the Association at Kaziranga today.

On the prevailing uproar over the issue of minimum wages of the tea workers in the State, he said that the planters are aggrieved when only the cash component of the wage is taken into consideration and is compared with the minimum wages of the other scheduled employments.

Traditionally, the State�s tea industry has been paying wages in cash and kind, which is also allowed by the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. The in-kind portion consists of requirements under the Plantation Labour Act (PLA), 1951 and bilateral agreements with the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) at different points of time.

In the Brahmaputra Valley, the bilateral agreement from time to time between employers� associations � the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA) � and employees� union (ACMS) is a time-tested system, which also takes care of inflation.

Now, it is feared that too much intervention by the Government, without going into the depth of the dynamics of the working pattern in a garden, may force the tea planters to dishonour the 1969 agreement the tea planters had arrived at with their workers� unions, which made retaining a minimum labour strength obligatory for each of the tea estates. Thus, it may in turn create an unemployment problem.

�As the Assam tea industry is too brittle; therefore, we hope all concerned will handle this industry with care. Wages constitute over 60 per cent of total cost of production. The prices of tea have not been able to keep pace with the rise in wages,� he said.

He requested the Tea Board to put E-Forms of every manufacturer in public domain so that growers can easily access them and thus a complete transparency could be maintained in implementing the price sharing formula.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)