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Morcha claims tea work credit
- Trains left stranded across region
- Senior officers report for duty but offices remain empty

Siliguri, Aug. 20: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has claimed that at least 40 tea gardens in the Terai and Dooars were open because of its growing presence in these areas.

“Partial activities were noticed in fair number of tea estates,” Prabir Bhattacharjee, secretary of the Dooars branch of Indian Tea Association, said today. “But a number of estates were closed too.” Bagrakote, Patharjhora, Mechpara, Grassmore and Chengmari were some of the gardens that were open.

“We have opened units in a number of estates. Workers reported for duty and so did Morcha supporters in gardens where we still do not have our units. That is why it was possible to keep a substantial number of gardens open in a CPM-sponsored bandh,” said Suraj Subba, the general secretary of Darjeeling Hill Plantations’ Labour Union, a Morcha affiliate.

In the Terai, Marianbarie, Panighata and Hanskowa were open. “Around five-seven gardens were open in Siliguri sub-division and in the foothills. While work was on in full swing in some of them, partial activities were there in others,” said Uday Bhanu Das, secretary of the Terai branch of ITA.

Aloke Chakraborty, the general secretary of Intuc-affiliate National Union of Plantation Workers, however, is not ready to give the whole credit to the Morcha. “Our supporters reported in large numbers and even protested against Citu attempt to stop work. The Morcha may have some role but we, too, had contributed.”.

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