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Forest minister mulls jumbo poser

In Terai and the Dooars, elephants often enter tea estates and damage workers’ quarters
Representational image.
Representational image.
File photo

Our Correspondent   |   Alipurduar   |   Published 30.07.22, 01:05 AM

State forest minister Jyotipriya Mallick instructed the Alipurduar district administration to consult various state departments and tea planters’ associations to explore options to help tea workers rebuild homes damaged by elephants.

In Terai and the Dooars, elephants often enter tea estates and damage workers’ quarters. Recently, around 40 quarters were damaged by elephants at Tasati tea estate.

“Workers don’t get compensation for repairs. The forest department can't pay as workers don’t have land rights. Tea companies say gardens are under panchayats and rural bodies should shell out money. This leaves workers in a fix,” said an official.

Earlier this month, when Trinamul’s all-India general secretary Abhishek Banerjee was in north Bengal, he was told about the issue and he asked forest minister Mallick to look into it.

Mallick arrived here on Friday and held a meeting at Dooars Kanya. “The district magistrate, officials of forest and labour departments and representatives of tea associations will hold a meeting to explore options on how affected workers can be compensated. We want tea companies to pay compensation,” he said.

Buxa tiger claim

Mallick told newspersons that there were 11 royal Bengal tigers at the Buxa Tiger Reserve. “There are 11 tigers in Buxa and we have sufficient evidence to prove it,” he said.

 “Our department is also taking the initiative to relocate residents of two forest villages that are within the tiger reserve,” said Mallick.

Last December, a tiger was clicked by a camera trap at Buxa after 30 years.

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