Silchar, Sept. 24: Thirty of the 103 tea estates in Barak Valley have agreed to pay the highest Puja bonus of 20 per cent to workers by the end of this month, after long negotiations with the Barak Chah Sramik Union yesterday.
The companies which have agreed to pay 20 per cent bonus include the Dewan tea estate, owned by the Calcutta-headquartered Jayshree Tea & Industries Ltd, the Aynekhal, Silcoorie and Dholai gardens, the Koomber and Kumbhirgram gardens owned by the Goodricke Group Ltd, the Doyapur, Rosekandy, Chandighat, Barnarpur and Bubrighat gardens, the Binnakandi tea estate owned by Chaviot Agro Industries Ltd and the Martycherra tea estate.
Tea industry sources said only a few gardens, which are either sick or finding it difficult to continue operations, are continuing their negotiations over the possible quantum of bonus to be paid.
These include the Calcutta-headquartered Bhuvan Valley Tea Company whose bonus negotiations with the tea union have been continuing for the past three days. The company, which has 900 hectares of plantation and produces about 3.5 lakh kg of CTC tea, has been passing through a bad phase recently. The estate management has been insisting on the payment of 13 per cent bonus, which the union has rejected.
S. Guhathakurta, secretary of the Barak Valley branch of the Indian Tea Association (ITA), said Barak plantations produced 54 lakh kg of tea and the average sale price was Rs 114 per kg in 2012-13.
Sources said some plantations such as Doloo, which registered the highest CTC output of 22lakh kg in Cachar district, and Aylebari have announced 18.75 cent and 16 per cent bonus respectively.
Sources said the disbursement of Puja bonus would be over by September 30.
The local branch offices of ITA and Tea Association of India (TAI) said they were in touch with the district administrations and police for the safe transport of the bonus money to remote estates.