Mujnai to reopen on May 4

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 23.04.11
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Alipurduar, April 22: The Mujnai tea estate is set to re-open on May 4 but workers today refused the Rs 500 that the new owners had agreed to pay them as advance after local Citu leaders refused to accept the deal.

On Wednesday, nearly 400 workers of Mujnai Tea Estate blocked NH31C at Madarihat for seven hours, demanding the opening of the garden.

Yesterday, the Jalpaiguri administration held a meeting to sort out the issue and it was decided that the new management would pay Rs 500 as advance to each worker today and distribute ration on Monday. It was also decided that another round of meeting would be held and the next instalment of Rs 500 would be paid on the day the garden opened.

Sukha Oraon, garden unit secretary of the Citu-affiliated Cha Bagan Mazdoor Union, said: “We did not sign the agreement. The central leaders did it and they have nothing to do with the workers. The new owner, Ashoke Garg, had said many labourers would be retrenched and the rest would work for four days a week only. We are against this. The management will have to give us in writing that there would be no retrenchment.”

An Intuc leader of Jalpaiguri, Mani Kumar Darnal, said the new management should be given a chance to operate. “When Jha came, they did not ask for any agreement,” he said.

Ratan Kumar Jha was arrested on Wednesday after he failed to prove that he was the valid owner of the garden. He has been accused of being an impostor.

Jalpaiguri district magistrate Vandana Yadav said Ashoke Garg’s credentials have been verified. “He is the new owner. A meeting will be held with the workers before the garden opens on May 4.”