Congress demands special package for ailing tea industry

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) on Monday has demanded a special economic package of Rs 1000 crore to rescue the ailing tea industry in the state from the Centre.

APCC President Ripun Bora also slammed the BJP government for not taking side of the tea garden workers by not ensuring the bonus at 20 per cent.

This demand has come after the tea bodies have said of not being able to pay the bonus up to the 20 per cent citing the reason of excessive loses in the tea industry.

“The ongoing economic crisis has hit Assam very badly and the tea industry among these. The tea industry is suffering. BJP has won by the promises of uplifting the condition of the tea tribe workers which they never fulfilled. When the tea industry is suffering, the government can’t even ensure 20 percent of bonus, leave alone hiking their wage to Rs 351 daily. The Centre should immediately announce a special package of at least Rs 1000 crore to rescue the tea industry,” Bora said.

He also added that the Congress had given Rs 400 crore package for the tea gardens.

The Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA), a umbrella organisation of tea producers representing Assam Branch Indian Tea Association (Abita), Assam Tea Planters Association (ATPA), Tea Association of India (TAI), Bharatiya Cha Parishad and North Eastern Tea Association (Neta), had said in Guwahati on Tuesday that they may not be able to pay more than the minimum 8.33 per cent bonus stipulated under the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965.

According to Bora, there are 55 lakh people are directly or indirectly involved with the tea industry while there are eight lakh tea garden workers in around 800 gardens across the state.

“BJP is using the tea garden workers only for the votes,” he said.

Slamming the various schemes on the name of the tea garden workers, Bora, an Upper House MP, said that these schemes are meant to distract the people from the main issues.

“There are only 250 ATMs whereas they need at least 1000 across the states in the gardens. The government must work in these issues to uplift the lives of the tea garden workers,” he added.

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