DIBRUGARH, June 17 - In the wake of reports about the world’s largest tea producer McLeod Russel (India) Limited selling off some of its finest tea plantations located in the State to Kolkata-based MK Shah Exports Limited and Luxmi Tea Company, Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS), the influential trade union of the tea industry, which was kept in the dark about the sale process, has said that the new companies or the new owners will not be allowed inside the garden if the brewing apprehension of the work force is not allayed.
The workers were skeptical about the intention of the new owners. They fear that their new employers will not fully implement the labour laws of the plantations, ignore the traditional rules of administration followed in the gardens, downsize labour force, partly withdraw facilities, privileges and social security schemes, etc.
The workers said that unless they receive a written assurance by the new employers, they will not be welcomed into the garden.
ACMS president and former Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar while talking to The Assam Tribune said that the new companies have been asked to ensure that there is no alteration in the running of the tea estates.
“The new company must adopt the same McLeod Russel’s approach in managing the gardens and that the workers must not be deprived of their rights and entitlements,” said Ghatowar.
The tea estates reportedly sold to MK Shah Exports Limited included Beesakopie, Raidang, Daimukhia, Samdang, Baghjan, Bordubi, Koomsong and Phillobari of Tinsukia district and the tea estates sold to Luxmi Tea Company are Moran Tea Estate, Lepetkatta Tea Estate and Attabarrie Tea Estate of Dibrugarh district and Sepon Tea Estate in Sivasagar district.
The workers of Lepetkata Tea Estate with the support of Dibrugarh branch of the ACMS have already intimated the management in Lepetkata through a memorandum that they will oppose the entry of the new employers if their apprehensions are not dispelled.