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12 Dec 2016

Uncertainty prevails at Darj tea garden

Pramod Giri, HT, 12 Dec 2016, SILIGURI: Though two days have passed since the closure of Tirrihannah Tea Estate in Darjeeling district in the absence of cash to pay workers’ wages, there has been no word on its reopening. This has made the garden’s 1,500 workers restless. The management of the estate had declared suspension of work from Saturday as an effect of demonetisation and all the managerial staff had left the estate on Friday night.
The management has also accused the workers of stopping the dispatch of tea and abusing the manger. Till Sunday late evening, the district administration and the Tea Association of India (TAI), of which Tirrihannah tea estate is a member garden, could not contact the management. Sumit Ghosh, secretary of TAI Terai branch, said “We have not been able to contact the management. Ghosh added, “Though the labour department and the TAI have been trying to defuse the crisis, this is not happening as we could not contact the management.” Tirrihannah tea estate, with its headquarters in Kolkata, is the second organised sector garden to down shutter as an effect of demonetisation after Sree Hanuman Jute Mills in Howrah.
Anurag Srivastava, district magistrate of Darjeeling, said, “There has been no development so such as far as the closure of Tirrihannah tea estate is concerned.” Like on Friday, HT’s efforts to contact Amlan Kusum Gorai, the manager of the tea estate, failed again on Sunday.
The tea estate and Sree Hanuman Jute Mills in Howrah together employ more than 4,000 workers. A letter sent to the State Bank of India Bengdubi branch on November 14 by the manager of Tirrihannah Tea Estate had apprehended serious law and order crisis unless sufficient cash is made available.

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