|Rani Tea Estate to be revived|
RANI, July 6 – In what can be termed as a victory for the labourers and the tribal people of the Rani area, the Rani Tea Estate management has come forward to revive the tea estate, officially known as MKB Asia Pvt Ltd under Palasbari revenue circle in Kamrup district after a long five years.
In this connection, a public meeting was held at the tea estate campus at 11 am today for a formal declaration of the tea garden management’s decision.
Rajib Singh Roy, manager of the tea garden, and Dibakar Singh Roy, represented the management in the meeting chaired by Kalpa Kachari, president of the Nagarik Suraksha Samiti, Rani.
The manager, while addressing the labourers as well as the public present, said that the tea garden authority was all set to revive the tea garden which was completely destroyed earlier in 2010. He said that the tea estate would be developed gradually and the authority would do all the possible work for the welfare of the labourers as per Tea Plantation Labour Act, 1951. He further called for all types of help and cooperation from the local people and the labourers to run the garden well.
While describing the purpose of the meeting, Dinesh Das, secretary of the Nagarik Suraksha Samity and trade union leader, recalled the tragic incident of 2010 which led to the closure of the tea estate. He also described the five-year-long struggle between the management of the tea estate and the labourers. He said that a meeting was held on May 27 this year at the Deputy Commissioner’s office, Kamrup, where both the parties agreed to settle the case and restart the tea estate.
Das also said that the management agreed to provide compensation to the victims. He later on conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved family and other victims of the tragic incident.
Nabin Basumatary, president of Upperdani Taluk where the tea estate is located, inaugurated the revival work of the tea garden, covering an area of 3,000 bighas of land.
The Rani Tea Estate was closed in 2010 following an untoward incident where Pradip Murari (15), a Class VIII student died on the spot and several others sustained bullet injuries. Mridul Kumar Bhattacharjee, the proprietor of the garden roughed up one Jogmaya Boro, an MNREGA worker while she was on her way to her duty across the garden at 8 am on March 22, 2010. This made the labourers and the local people angry with Bhattacharjee and they protested his brutal atrocities. Seeing the situation worsen and fearing for his own life, Bhattacharjee started firing upon the irate mob with his licensed revolver, resulting in the death of young Pradip Murari while Kati Ram Rabha (35), Suren Boro (50), Ajoy Rabha (20), Jagadish Murari (18), Ajanta Murari (17), and Jonaki Murari (22) received bullet injuries.
Then irate mob vandalized the garden and set the factory and office building on fire. However, police rushed to the spot immediately and brought the situation under control. Bhattacharjee, the proprietor was arrested.
It may be noted here that a cheque of Rs 3 lakh was handed over to the next of the kin of Pradip Murari, while other victims were also given cheques as compensation in the meeting. The labourers also submitted a memorandum containing various demands to the manager in the meeting.