Opposition Congress claimed that due to the recent decision of the BJP government in Assam, each tea worker would lose Rs 2.7 lakh in wages in the next five years.
Assam Pradesh Congress in a statement said that the Assam government’s recent announcement of the increase of daily wage of tea workers to Rs 205 is much lower than the BJP’s 2016 electoral promise of wage increase to Rs 351.
“The recent wage increase by Rs 38 is also less than the (previous) Sonowal government’s notification which had added Rs 50 just before elections and increased it to Rs 217,” the statement said.
AICC general secretary in-charge of the state, Jitendra Singh, said that the Congress before the elections had promised an increase of wages to Rs 365 to tea workers if the party forms the government in Assam.
He said: “Considering the Congress’ assurance of Rs 365 and to understand the dimension of loss per family, if we assume that four members of a family are engaged as tea workers then the loss per family would be Rs 640 per day and the accumulated loss in 5 years would be approximately Rs 11 lakh.”
After several months of legal and administrative tangles, the state government on May 28 decided to increase the daily wage of around 10 lakh tea plantation workers by Rs 38.
The issue of higher wages for around 10 lakh tea garden workers in the state was one of the biggest poll issues before the three-phase assembly elections that were held in the state in March-April.
After coming to power in Assam in 2016, the BJP-led state government had increased the daily wage of tea garden workers by Rs 30.
Assam, which roughly accounts for 55 per cent of India’s total tea production of 1,389.70 million kg, has 856 large tea gardens and over a lakh small tea growers, engaging around 10 lakh workers in this industry.