The Telegraph
Saturday , October 6 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Hill porters return to work

Darjeeling, Oct. 5: The majority of porters in Darjeeling were back at work today, a day after announcing an indefinite strike to protest the municipality’s move to register them.

The strike was called to force the the municipality to withdraw its decision to charge Rs 800 for the porters’ registration and make it mandatory for them to wear a jacket during work.

The porters withdrew the strike probably because they were feeling insecure to fight against “the government” in the absence of an organised union. The porters in Darjeeling are mostly from Nepal and do not have any association.

Bishnumaya Thami, a porter who had decided to work today, said: “They are the government and how can we go against them. I paid the registration fees today and am happy to start work.”

Municipality sources said 750 porters had registered with the civic body yesterday and today. “We believe almost 90 per cent are willing for the registration. It is only a handful of porters who are resisting the move,” said Amar Singh Rai, the chairman of Darjeeling municipality. The porters claim they number around 2,000. Rai said the civic body was not charging the additional Rs 45 a month as claimed by the porters yesterday.