The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Front leaders warn of sleeping volcano

Calcutta, Nov. 7: Left Front partners today said the outburst of tea garden workers is the first symptom of simmering rage after years of neglect.

Without naming the Citu, Forward Bloc leaders said the union could not play the expected role in finding a solution to the workers’ problems.

The Bloc leadership said if the government did not take immediate steps to provide relief to the families of 15,000 employees rendered jobless because of the closure of a large number of tea gardens, the anger will spread like wildfire.

“Yesterday’s incident is the first signal of an explosion of anger that has been suppressed by the deprived people for long. It is a volcano ready to erupt. If the problem is not addressed to immediately, it will take the shape of a wildfire,” said Kamal Guha, the Bloc chairman and agriculture minister.

Echoing Guha, RSP secretariat member and senior trade union leader Sunil Sengupta said: “The incident has tarnished the front’s image and is a signal of grave danger.”

The Citu leadership condemned the killings. It met last night to discuss what led to the outburst of the tea garden workers. State secretariat member of the union Arati Dasgupta said no decision was taken on action against Tarakeshwar Lohar, the garden leader who was the target of the workers’ wrath yesterday.

State Citu secretary Mrinal Das said the Jalpaiguri chapter of the union has to say whether Lohar should be punished.

Citu sources said chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has asked labour minister Mohammad Amin to visit Jalpaiguri for an on-the-spot survey. Amin said he would be in Jalpaiguri on Monday.

Industries minister Nirupam Sen said a three-member team had been set up to look into the crisis in the tea gardens.

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