NEW DELHI, Dec 24 - Ahead of the Assembly polls in Assam, the BJP has taken on the tea garden managements in the State for allegedly neglecting the workers and paying little attention to their welfare.
Dashing off letters to heads of the Tea Planters� Association, Indian Tea Association and the Bharatiya Chah Parishad with copies to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Industry and Commerce and Tea Board, BJP MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa has levelled serious allegations against the tea garden managements of not doing enough for tea workers leading to many problems like decreasing productivity and intolerance.
�There are 900 tea gardens under your Association employing 9 lakh tea workers,� he wrote to the Tea Planters� Association.
�In the recent past, employment opportunities in your gardens have been reduced. You maintain that your gardens are incurring loss and unable to recruit more employees.�
�You are giving limited facilities to employees and workers. Under the Plantation Labour Act 1951, you have some social responsibility for the welfare of your employees and workers, including those from outside,� Tasa, who represents the Jorhat Lok Sabha constituency, said.
Most of the tea garden managements and authorities have appointed welfare officers as required. But they are engaged in some other works, Tasa alleged.
Now the government is introducing the National Food security Act (NFSA) in Assam. There is no relation between NFSA and ration facilities. �You should ensure and inform the tea workers that they will continue to get ration facilities as part of their wages,� he said.
Tasa had also made Special Mention in Parliament stating that rumours were being spread by mischievous elements claiming that ration facilities might be discontinued in the aftermath of the implementation of the NFSA.
�I am aware that you are paying required tax and also making some financial assistance to the Chief Minister�s Relief Fund, but this is not an issue. Many of your member gardens are doing less welfare services for the tea workers,� Tasa wrote.
�You should ensure that every garden management sets up women�s self-help groups for welfare of tea garden workers particularly women, who constitute 60 per cent of the work force,� Tasa suggested.
The BJP has made inroads into what had once been Congress bastion and in the last parliamentary election, the party snatched from the Congress all the three tea-dominated Lok Sabha constituencies, including Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Tezpur.