GUWAHATI, March 1 - Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary today questioned the role of the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) in fixing the wages of workers and wondered if there was actually any need for organisations like it, triggering vociferous protests from Opposition Congress legislators in the Assembly.
�The wages of workers are worked out by the ACMS and garden managements. Now whose organisation is it? I feel there should not be any organisation like the ACMS. The workers should leave all these organisations, form a committee among themselves and decide their wages with the managements,� Patowary said, in response to a question by MLA Durga Bhumij on low daily wages of workers and the pay disparity between those in the Brahmaputra Valley and the Barak Valley gardens.
Immediately Congress legislators, including Abdul Khaleque, Kamalakhya Dey Purukayastha, Roselina Tirkey and others, rose from their seats and protested against the remarks.
�How can a minister talk about banning a workers� union?� asked Khaleque.
The uproar gained steam as BJP legislators also stood up and tried to counter their Congress counterparts. As the noisy scenes continued, Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami had to make several attempts to pacify the situation.
�The issue (problems of tea workers) is serious. But we should stick to the point and not go into political affiliations. But unfortunately, the House atmosphere is such that there is no scope for further supplementary questions,� Goswami said as he directed the minister concerned to take up the next question.