| Tapan Chandra Rao stages an indefinite hunger strike in Jorhat on Thursday. Telegraph picture |
Jorhat, Feb. 28: An ex-labour welfare officer of Kamarbund tea estate under Jalukanibari police outpost on the southern outskirts here has gone on an indefinite fast, demanding reinstatement of his service to the garden according to the order passed by the commissioner and secretary of the labour and employment department.
The Assam Tea Tribes’ Students’ Association (ATTSA) has supported Tapan Chandra Rao in his protest in front of the office garden, which is co-owned by the Rajib Barooah, chairman of the Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA), one of the largest tea growers’ bodies in the state.
Rao has been on a hunger strike since Monday, after his repeated requests to the management to reinstate him and pay him all dues, has failed to get a positive response.
Rao told this correspondent that though Amlan Baruah, labour and employment commissioner and secretary, had passed the order on November 17, 2012, following an appeal by Rao, to reinstate him and pay all consequential dues, the management on some pretext has not honoured the order.
“As the management has not implemented the said order even after the assistant labour commissioner (Jorhat) P.K. Bordoloi asked the garden authorities to do so earlier this month, I am finding it very difficult to meet the ends. So I have resorted to indefinite fast to get justice,” Rao said.
The order passed by Baruah stated Rao’s dismissal from service in November 28, 2011, by the company was done without following the legal procedures.
The order said Rao be reinstated and should be treated as on duty for the entire period of the appeal being heard and would be entitled to all consequential dues.
The order also states that the management had also earlier terminated the service of Rao in 2002, which too, was reinstated after he moved then commissioner and secretary B.B. Hagjer in 2004. Rao had joined service in 1993.
Bordoloi said he was taking a note of the situation and has been in touch with the garden management through the ATPA officials (Kamarbund tea estate is ATPA member) to resolve the issue.
He said the garden authorities were violating a government order by not complying with the same.
“Earlier this month I wrote to the garden that the management had failed to honour the labour commissioner and secretary’s order to reinstate Rao after requesting for a period of 15 days to do so. Hence, if any untoward incident occurs because of the hunger strike resorted by the sacked executive then the management will be responsible for it,” Bordoloi said.
ATTSA assistant secretary Dhiraj Gowala said the attitude shown by the garden management reflects clearly the behaviour the estates under ATPA have been showing towards their employees.
Gowala said in 90 per cent of the ATPA gardens the post of labour welfare officer was vacant and in this case, the management had taken on the officer for not adopting the policy followed by the management.
He blamed the government for being soft towards the estate owners.
However, attempts to contact Barooah, ATPA chairman and co-owner of Kamarbund tea estate, failed.