Agartala, Nov. 10: The provident fund commissionerate has undertaken an initiative to bring workers engaged in rubber estates under PF cover.
Altogether 6,500 workers engaged in 35 rubber gardens spread over 10,312 hectares owned by the Tripura Forest Development and Plantation Corporation, will benefit from the provident fund coverage.
The decision was taken in a meeting of rubber and tea planters with additional PF commissioner A.M. Raju yesterday.
Raju said the corporation is the single largest rubber-producing unit in the country and hence, its 6,500 workers needed to be brought under the purview of provident fund.
“According to the Provident Fund Act, 1952, 20 or more workers employed in a single unit need to be brought under the PF coverage and the corporation fulfils that condition,” he said in the meeting.
He directed private rubber planters who employ 20 or more people in their plantations to register their workers with the PF sub-regional office.
However, he expressed concern over the growing tendency of tea garden managements to default on PF payment of workers. “The biggest defaulter is Ranibari tea estate in Dharmangar subdivision of North Tripura but there are around 15 estates whose managements have been irregular in payment of PF dues. If the gardens do not pay the dues, we will take action,” he said.
He said the number of workers under PF coverage did not match the total number of workers engaged in the 56 tea gardens in the state.
A tea planter, who did not wish to be named, claimed there were errors in the statistical data maintained by the PF sub-regional office. “We have brought the anomalies to the additional PF commissioner’s attention and will submit the full details of workers employed in the gardens under our association,” he said.
The deputy director (production) of the corporation, K.C. Mandal, said they would expedite the process to register all their workers with the PF commission. “We will compile the names of the 6,500 workers soon,” he said.
Mandal said their rubber plantation programme had benefited from the indigenous jhumias (shifting cultivators). “Of the 10,312 hectares under rubber plantation, 2,750 hectares have been allotted to jhumias as part of a resettlement programme,” he said.