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17 Feb 2018

Hill agitation cases may go back to respective courts

SNS, DARJEELING. 16 JANUARY 2018: Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) leader and chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) board BinoyTamang today said that state labour Minister Malay Ghatak, who is also the Law minister,has assured them that he would look into cases related to GJMM leaders and supporters who were arrested during last year's Gorkhaland agitation and who are now languishing in correctional homes in Siliguri and Jalpaiguri.
According to him, the minister has assured him that the court cases going on against the accused persons would be shifted to the respective courts where they came from earlier. It may be mentioned here that all the cases related to the agitation, in the Hills and the plains, are being heard in the Siliguri court presently.
Mr Tamang said that the minister also assured that he would "seriously look into the demands being made for the implementation of the Minimum Wages Act and payment of last year's puja bonus in the tea gardens in the Hills.
Mr Tamang, along with Darjeeling MLA Amar Singh Rai and Kurseong MLA Rohit Sharma, today met minister Ghatak in Kolkata and discussed a whole gamut of problems in the tea and cinchona plantations.
"We sought immediate implementation of the Minimum Wages Act in the tea gardens, along with the second installment of the puja bonus that is yet to be paid to tea workers, and the issue of parchha patta (land documents) for the tea workers. Tea gardens are the main stay of the people in the Hills, and it is necessary to keep them problem-free," Mr Tamang said in the press release.
According to the release, a high-level meeting would be held on 22 February at Uttarkanya in Siliguri regardng the tea garden issues, where Mr Tamang has also been invited.
'For the second installment of the puja bonus, a meeting will be held soon with owners of teagardens, and the minister told us today that the payment would be released soon after that. It was also decided today that one of the family members of a tea garden worker who does not work in the garden now, will be made a construction worker. Also, there are some facilities which were not implemented in the gardens, and a decision was taken today to implement them all for the tea garden workers,' Mr Tamang said.
Several problems plaguing the cinchona plantation, like promotion of staff and increment in salary, were also discussed with the minister today Mr Ghatak assured MrTamang that he would do the needful on this very soon, according to the press release.
"As the minister is also looking after the judicial and Law Department, we also took out the issue of those arrested in the recent agitation.While many of the arrested are walked free now, there still remain about 15O persons in correctional homes in Siliguri and Jalpaiguri.
Due to different technical problems, they are yet to get bail, while the legal processes have also not been taken forward properly. We requested the minister to look into this also, and the minister has given us assurances that he would do whatever he can to help in this matter," Mr Tamang said.

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