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North Dinajpur estate shut

Siliguri, March 12: The management of Debijhora Tea Estate near Chopra in North Dinajpur announced suspension of work from today alleging lawlessness in the garden.

Sources said problem started when the owners asked the labourers to work full-time.

“New tealeaves have come up and the management asked the workers to start working full-time. Some workers refused and forced the others to do the same,” said U.B. Das, secretary of Terai Indian Planters’ Association. He said the labourers were forced to stop work for three days from March 9.

During winters, a lean period for tea, labourers work for shorter hours. They start working full-time from March.

The garden, 50km from here, has 530 workers.

“The problem would have been resolved through talks but the management left the garden. We have sought intervention of the state labour department so that the garden can be re-opened. Workers owing allegiance to the Citu have created the problem,” said Aloke Chakraborty, a leader of Inttuc-backed Terai Dooars Plantation Workers’ Union.

Citu leaders could not be contacted.