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4 Feb 2017

Fast for farming

The entrance to Simulbarie Tea Estate. File picture
TT, Siliguri, Feb. 3: Around 100 people comprising some workers of Simulbarie Tea Estate and local people started a relay hunger strike in Malibhita area of the garden this morning, demanding that they be allowed to carry on with farming on around 30 acre of vacant land in the plantation.
The management had announced suspension of work in the garden from January 31, saying workers were obstructing the planting of tea sapling on the vacant land. The workers used to undertake cultivation in the vacant land and that was why they allegedly obstructed the planting of the tea saplings.
The relay fast is being conducted under the banner of the Bhumi Sudhar Committee, which the agitators claimed was an apolitical organisation.
"The garden management is not allowing about 300 families, including some workers' families at Malivita, which is located on the fringes of the tea estate, to carry out farming on their land. They have been using the land for farming for several years and suddenly, the management started claiming that the stretch was a part of the leasehold area of the garden," Tshering Dahal, the chief coordinator of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's Terai unit.
Simulbarie is around 15km from here and close to Sukna.
Dahal said the Morcha was extending support to the fast at the request of the agitators.

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