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16 Feb 2018

CM to open tea garden fair price shops

CM to open tea garden fair price shopsSNS | Siliguri | February 15, 2018: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will officially introduce 125 fair price shops in tea gardens in the plains soon, according to food and supplies minister Jyotipriya Mallick. “I inaugurated only one such fair price shop at Karala Valley tea garden in Jalpaiguri on 13 February to make it a model shop organized by Self Help Groups (SHG).

We plan to set up 126 fair price shops in all tea gardens in the plains. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will officially inaugurate the rest of the 125 fair price shops soon,” Mr Mallick said. “The objective of this fair price shops is to provide food grain among all the people in the tea belt.

Planters would not be able to deprive any one after the fair price shops start functioning,” he added. Mr Mallick also said that he has informed authorities concerned about the decision to distribute rice under the National Food Security Act at Rs 2 (per kg) through planters and requested the department concerned that planters should pay 70 to 75 per cent of Rs 9 to each worker.

It may be mentioned that the government used to sell rice to the planters at Rs 9 per kg per worker in the traditional rationing method. “Though I have heard that planters have not agreed to pay the amount to the workers, I cannot interfere in the matter by breaking protocol,” he said.

It may be noted that the state labour department is trying to ascertain the value of the traditional ration, which has been suspended after implementation of the NFSA in the tea belt in February 2016, to add it to the tea workers’ wages.

Workers under different trade unions have also been demanding arrear of the traditional ration value, even as the state government has issued orders to implement an interim hike of Rs 17.50 in a tea worker’s daily wage of Rs 132.50.

“The chief minister has recently constituted a six-member committee, comprising ministers, including Gautam Deb and others, under the leadership of state finance minister Dr Amit Mitra to look after the tea and jute industries. I am one of the members of the committee. I hope the committee will look into the tea workers’ problems,” Mr Mallick said.

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