GUWAHATI, Aug 7 - With small tea growers and bought leaf factories shying away from providing social security benefits to their workers, the Assam Tea Employees Provident Fund Organisation (ATEPFO) has started wielding the big stick.
Besides issuing a notice to small and medium tea growers, the ATEPFO has also asked the bought leaf factories and other big gardens not to purchase green leaf from growers who do not comply with The Assam Tea Plantations Provident Fund and Pension Fund and Deposit Linked Insurance Fund Scheme Act.
Going a step further, the ATEPFO has also had a discussion with the Tea Board of India, suggesting that those growers and factories, who do not comply with the Act, should be deregistered. The ATEPFO will send a formal written proposal to the Tea Board in a day or two, official sources told The Assam Tribune.
�Those gardens and factories employing ten or more people should compulsorily implement the Act and provide the social security benefits to the workers. Earlier, there were certain considerations if the garden area was relatively small. But after the Act was amended recently, all gardens, big or small, employing more than ten people should implement it,� the sources said.
Only a handful of such small and medium gardens have complied with the Act so far. According to the ATEPFO, there could be nearly 2,000 small tea gardens which have plantation areas of over 50 bighas.