Cinchona plea to CM: Promote staff at plantations in Darjeeling hills
Anit Thapa, president of the Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha, has written to chief minister Mamata Banerjee requesting her to resolve the stasis in promotions of workers at cinchona plantations in the Darjeeling hills.
Thapa has pointed out that most Group-D posts are lying vacant since 2011 as the senior daily-wage workers who serve under the Directorate of Cinchona & Other Medicinal Plants (DCOMP) have not been promoted.
Altogether, 5,353 workers serve under the DCOMP in its four divisions at Rango, Munsung, Latpanchar and Mungpoo. Many of them have been working since 2011 and their promotion to Group-D is due.
“Around 600 Group-D posts are vacant at the plantations and more than 1,500 workers who have been serving as helpers for 11 years or more are eligible for promotion,” said a source in the DCOMP.
The workers have been protesting since April 28 to demand that they be elevated immediately.
On May 13, officials of the horticulture and fruit processing industries department and representatives of trade unions had met in Calcutta but no decision could be taken.
Thapa’s request comes at a time when the state has decided to hold elections to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and is being seen as an attempt to consolidate his fledgling party’s support base among the cinchona workers. Thapa was earlier associated with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
“The votes of cinchona workers and their families will decide the fate of candidates in a number of GTA constituencies. That is why it seems political parties are trying to win their support,” an observer said.