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10 Jul 2018

BJP mulls tea agitation plan

TT, Alipurduar: State and Alipurduar district BJP leaders held a meeting in Birpara on Monday to discuss the plan chalked out by the party to launch a movement for tea garden workers of north Bengal.

The meeting, party insiders said, was important as the BJP is desperate to consolidate and augment its support base in tea gardens, particularly because the Trinamul government has failed to fix and implement minimum wage in the industry that employs over 3.50 lakh workers.

State general secretary Pratap Banerjee, Ganga Prasad Sharma, the Alipurduar district president of the party and Manoj Tigga, the BJP MLA of Madarihat Assembly seat, who is also the chairman of the north Bengal committee of BJP-backed Bharatiya Tea Workers' Union, were present at the meeting.

"At a recent meeting, our party president Amit Shah has instructed to focus on the tea belt. We would be launching a movement for the tea workers of Bengal, who have been deprived of minimum wage and several other facilities," said a party insider.

The decision comes after the BJP-run government in Assam has decided that tea workers in the state would get an interim wage hike of Rs 30, which would increase the daily tea wage to Rs 167, higher than Bengal where it is Rs 150 now.

"At the meeting, we discussed the problems of tea workers here. Most of them are not getting fringe benefits and they do not have land rights. We have decided to launch a movement on these issues," said Pratap Banerjee.

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