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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 April 2024

2024 Lok Sabha elections: Trade union of Trinamul Congress taps tea workers for campaign

As a part of the initiative, the INTTUC and the Trinamul Cha Bagan Sramik Union — which works for tea garden workers — have started conducting workshops for the selected labourers

Our Correspondent Alipurduar Published 22.12.23, 06:32 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

The trade union of the Trinamul Congress has drawn up an elaborate plan to select five labourers each in tea gardens and engage them to flag the issues concerning the workforce and campaign for the party.

Election results of at least three Lok Sabha constituencies — Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar — in north Bengal are determined by the residents of tea estates. In the 2019 general election, the BJP had bagged all the three seats riding on the support of the plantation population.

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Ritabrata Banerjee, the state president of the INTTUC, said the union would choose five workers, including two women, from each tea garden. Senior trade union leaders will make them aware of various issues pertaining to workers so that the selected labourers can flag them at appropriate quarters, said Banerjee.

“Simultaneously, they will be engaged to reach out to their colleagues and their families in each garden where they will explain the welfare schemes extended to them by the Mamata Banerjee government. These workers will also speak on the empty promises made by BJP leaders, including some central ministers,” said Banerjee.

As a part of the initiative, the INTTUC and the Trinamul Cha Bagan Sramik Union — which works for tea garden workers — have started conducting workshops for the selected labourers.

Workshops were conducted at Nagrakata in Jalpaiguri district on Tuesday and at Birpara in Alipurduar district on Wednesday.

“There will be two more workshops at Kumargram (in Alipurduar district) and in Siliguri on December 27 and 28, respectively,” said an INTTUC leader.

At the workshops, trade union leaders like Rabin Rai, Nakul Sonar, Birendra Bara and Gangaprasad Sharma will apprise the participants of labour laws, bonus, fringe benefits, labour welfare initiatives of the state government and organisational issues.

So far, leaders of Trinamul and its trade union used to hold meetings in tea gardens on various issues and would also campaign in tea gardens.

“This is the first time that an initiative has been taken by the party to get workers reach out to their colleagues and their families. We have decided to include two women workers so that other women workers can communicate with them on different issues without any hesitation. We believe the plan will be effective in due course,” said a senior Trinamul functionary in Alipurduar.

Trinamul faced a debacle even in the 2021 Assembly elections. Even though the party emerged victorious in the state for the third time, it could win only two of the 12-odd Assembly seats in the tea belt. All remaining seats went to the BJP.

This made the ruling party of Bengal recast its focus on the tea gardens and over the past couple of years, the party, as well as the government, took a series of initiatives to woo the tea population.

They include the decision to provide land rights to tea workers, free housing and financial assistance to build houses, crèches, health centres with ambulances, identity cards and enrollment of the workers and their families in various social welfare schemes.

“Such efforts by Trinamul will definitely exert pressure on the BJP. It would be interesting to see how BJP counters the development card which Trinamul plays in the tea belt,” said Soumen Nag, a social researcher in Siliguri.

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