Morcha lifts tea embargo - Morcha asked to lift embargo on Darjeeling tea

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By OUR BUREAU
  • Published 30.03.11
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March 29: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha tonight lifted the embargo on the first flush of Darjeeling tea from more than 60 gardens.

The decision was taken following a meeting between the Darjeeling Tea Association and tea trade unions of the Morcha, CPRM and the Congress in Darjeeling today.

The Morcha has been enforcing the embargo on the despatch of the first flush from 80-odd gardens in the Darjeeling hills for around a month, seeking the fulfilment of a charter of demands, including a hike in workers’ daily wages from Rs 67 to Rs 120-150.

“But the relief will be applicable to only 63 gardens, which are under the DTA,” said P.T Sherpa of the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union.

The Morcha exempted the DTA gardens from the purview of the embargo, as the association was ready to hold talks on the revision of wages in the hill gardens. The DTA move was contrary to the decision taken by the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations, the apex body of tea planters in India, that no separate talks could be held on the revision of wages in the hill gardens.

Around 20 estates, whose business will continue to be crippled by the embargo, belong to the Indian Tea Association and other organisations.

In another development, a meeting convened by the state labour department in Siliguri today appealed to the Morcha to lift the embargo. The meeting also rejected the Morcha’s demand for separate talks on the revision of wages of hill labourers.

Subal Biswas, the additional labour commissioner of the state, presided over the meeting, which was attended by the CCPA and various trade unions, including the Citu and the Intuc. The Morcha union was also present.

The talks were held to discuss the wage revision of the garden workers in Bengal.

“Morcha union leaders were requested by all of us to withdraw the embargo so that Darjeeling tea could be sold overseas and in the domestic market. Representatives of all other trade unions also said no separate talks could be held only for tea workers in the hills,” said Aloke Chakraborty, the Darjeeling district president of the Intuc.

“A general industry wide discussion, as it has been the practice over years, followed by an agreement, is necessary to maintain parity in wages.”

Monojit Dasgupta, the secretary general of the CCPA, spoke on similar lines. “We are serious about inking the new wage agreement at the earliest. The tripartite talks have proved to be fruitful in fixing the wages. The issue can be resolved amicably.”