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Regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

Union plea to keep an eye on tea gardens of Assam

ACMS president Paban Singh Ghatowar said survival of about 2 lakh population of the tea company was likely to be affected

Avik Chakraborty Dibrugarh Published 29.04.20, 07:01 PM
Paban Singh Ghatowar

Paban Singh Ghatowar Telegraph picture

Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) president Paban Singh Ghatowar has urged chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to keep an eye on the 14 tea gardens under the Assam Company India Limited (ACIL) owned by BRS Ventures Investment Ltd.

The ACIL, founded in 1839, is one of the oldest tea companies of India.

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Ghatowar recently wrote to Sonowal and urged him to keep a close watch on ACIL.

He said survival of about two lakh population of the tea company was likely to be affected.

Recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has ordered a freeze on all bank accounts of Indian billionaire B.R. Shetty and his family and has also blacklisted several firms associated with him along with their entire senior management.

Talking to The Telegraph on Wednesday at ACMS office here, Ghatowar said, “The ACIL is one of the oldest tea companies of India with 14 tea gardens and 40,000 to 45,000 permanent and casual workers are associated with the gardens.Earlier, the ACIL was a British company and after that it was taken over by Jajodia Group. The Jajodia Group had taken crores of rupees loan from banks to start other business and they could return the loan amount to the bank. The bank had given a case to the National Company Law Tribunal and they have declared the ACIL as bankrupt and auctioned it. During the auction, BRS Ventures Investment Ltd bought ACIL.”

Ghatowar said, “We were very hopeful when BRS Ventures Investment Ltd took over the ACIL. The owner, B.R. Shetty, came to Assam and visited the tea gardens and said he will develop tea gardens, workers quarters and build hospitals for tea gardens workers. Recently, from media reports we came to know that Shetty’s companies were frozen in the UAE because he has taken billions of rupees loan from several banks and could not return the amount. His companies are facing closure.”

The former Union minister said during the Covid-19 pandemic this disturbing news has cast a pall of gloom over the entire tea community who are associated with the ACIL tea gardens.

However, Ghatowar said the ACIL has not uttered a single word on the crisis so far.

“We urged chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to take care of the livelihood of the people associated with the tea gardens. We have sent a letter to Sonowal asking him to look after the matter,” Ghatowar said.

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