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20 Dec 2016

Deb blames Citu for garden closure

Deb hands over a blanket to a resident of the closed Tirrihannah Tea Estate on Monday. (Passang Yolmo)
TT, Siliguri, Dec. 19: State tourism minister Gautam Deb today alleged that the management had closed Tirrihannah Tea Estate near Bagdogra because of the highhandedness of the Citu and Siliguri mayor Asok Bhattacharya had tried to incite some workers in the garden.
On December 9, managerial staff of the garden had left the estate, alleging that a section of workers had stopped them from dispatching tea for auctions.
Today, Deb went to the garden and spoke at a meeting organised by the INTTUC, the workers' front of Trinamul.
"We have come to know that certain activities of the Citu led to the garden's closure. The mayor of Siliguri was here with some people and tried to incite workers. We disapprove of such moves and want the garden to reopen at the earliest," said Deb, who is also the Darjeeling district Trinamul president.
The minister said the state government was putting in all efforts to reopen the garden.
"Food grains and blankets would be distributed among the distressed workers from today. The Left Front government had not done anything for tea workers during its 34 years' rule," he said.
Reacting to the charge, Bhattacharya said: "Trinamul and its trade unions are yet to create a concrete base in the tea sector. That is why some of the party leaders have adopted a new strategy. They are trying to use the distress of tea garden workers, like those in Tirrihannah, to put pressure on them to join their union."
Tirrihannah is around 20km from here.
Banshi Sahoo, who had introduced himself as a Trinamul leader, was arrested by the RPF in Jalpaiguri on Monday for allegedly threatening a railway contractor and demanding money from trucks carrying materials for a railway project. He will be produced in the railway judicial magistrate's court in New Jalpaiguri on Tuesday.

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