ANI Photo | Closed tea gardens, minimum wages key electoral issues for Darjeeling; going to polls on April 26

The Darjeeling Hills, known for their tea, is going to the polls in the second round of Lok Sabha elections on April 26 in West Bengal.
While the state tea belt in North Bengal goes to votes, the pressing issues facing tea remain relegated to the sidelines. Non-fixation of minimum wages for workers and closed tea gardens are the main factors.
Happy Valley Tea Estate Manager, Rajat Thapa, complained that they are not getting any support (from the state government).
closed tea gardens minimum wages key electoral issues for darjeeling going to polls on april 26 1 – The News Mill
“Happy Valley was established in 1854. It is the oldest tea garden and has the highest elevation…There are 250 workers…However, the absenteeism percentage is very high…So the quality has reduced due to the labour shortage…Everybody wants white-collar jobs now…There are 87 tea gardens in Darjeeling…We are not getting any support. We are doing everything on our own. Only 25-30 per cent cent tea is being exported so survival is difficult…,” he told ANI.
closed tea gardens minimum wages key electoral issues for darjeeling going to polls on april 26 2 – The News Mill
A tea worker, Arjina Rai, said, “We aren’t happy as we get Rs 250 only per day. There are no medical facilities…Around 100 people are working in the garden…We don’t see our future here. We want the garden to survive. We are not getting any support from the government…We are working for Rs 250 for eight hours…”
Darjeeling, known as the Queen of the Hills, has long supported the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In 2009, it elected the former Central Minister Jaswant Singh. In 2014, it put its faith in SS Ahluwalia. And in 2019, BJP’s Raju Bista was elected.
Elections in Darjeeling are scheduled for April 26 and Bista is pitted against Gopal Lama of the Trinamool Congress. The Congress has fielded Munish Tamang from the seat.
The TMC has never won the constituency. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP’s Bista won the constituency winning 59.2 per cent votes defeating TMC’s Amar Singh Rai who won 26.6 per cent votes. In 2014, SS Ahluwalia won 42.8 per cent of votes while former footballer and TMC’s star candidate Bhai Chung Bhutia won 25.5 per cent.
Voting for the remaining constituencies of West Bengal will be held on April 26, May 4, May 13, May 20, May 25, and June 1. The votes will be counted on June 4.
Happy Valley Tea Estate was established in 1854 by an Englishman, David Wilson, and named the Wilson Tea Estate. That makes it the second-oldest tea garden in Darjeeling

Subscribe to our Newsletter

ANI News Logo
About ANI


ANI is a leading multimedia news agency.