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13 Jan 2017

Glare on tea PF

TT, Siliguri, Jan. 12: The sub-regional office of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation today claimed that managements of several tea gardens in north Bengal under its jurisdiction had not deposited provident funds of workers amounting to around Rs 100 crore.
The office has served notices on these estates and filed complaints with the police against the defaulting companies, an official said.
"Managements of more than 50 tea gardens have not deposited provident fund of its employees and workers. The dues, in total, are around Rs 100 crore. We have started taking steps against them and have filed complaints with the police. We have begun sending notices to such defaulters," Manoj Kumar, the PF commissioner of the sub-regional office in Siliguri, said today.
He said 100-odd tea gardens and small plantations were under the Siliguri office, which covers Malda, South and North Dinajpurs and Darjeeling districts as well as Sikkim.
"After the notices were served, we found that in 90 per cent cases, the planters have managed to evade the orders by moving court and obtaining stay orders. Though we have the power to attach their bank accounts or properties, we cannot take any such step because of the stay orders," Kumar said.
The EPFO also filed police complaints against some tea garden owners in Darjeeling.
Vikas Anand, the assistant commissioner of PF, said: "We have also served notice on the chief medical officers of health of north Bengal and asked why contractual health workers were excluded from PF."

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