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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

Jalpaiguri: Tea workers’ PMAY ire hits block office

Police and Trinamul Congress leaders reach Sadar block office at Rajbaripara to pacify protesters

Our Correspondent Jalpaiguri Published 31.12.22, 04:09 AM
Tea garden workers demonstrate in front of the Sadar BDO office in Jalpaiguri district on Friday.

Tea garden workers demonstrate in front of the Sadar BDO office in Jalpaiguri district on Friday. Biplab Basak

Around 1,000 tea garden workers laid siege to a block development office in Jalpaiguri district for around four hours on Friday, demanding their inclusion in the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

Police and Trinamul Congress leaders reached the Sadar block office at Rajbaripara here to pacify the protesters.

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Carrying placards and shouting slogans, workers of Raipur, Joypur, Bhandiguri, Danguajhar, and Karala Valley tea estates reached the BDO office around 12pm.

They locked the main entrance to the office and demonstrated, alleging that their names had been deleted from the beneficiary lists of the Centre’s rural housing scheme during the verification survey that officials had recently conducted in their gardens. The estates are located on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri town.

“None of us has our own house in the garden. We stay in quarters provided by the management. Earlier, our names were on the list. But many of us could not find the names when the list was revised recently. The block administration will have to ensure that the names of all of us feature on the list,” said Ranjita Oraon, a worker of Danguajhar.

For the past few weeks, workers of a number of tea estates have been demanding that they be provided with houses under the PMAY. In most gardens, the workers’ quarters are in dilapidated conditions and repairs are hardly carried out by the management, the workers have said.

The protesters said in Danguajhar, the names of 572 beneficiaries had been on the list earlier. However, only the names of 211 workers are on the revised list. Similarly, in Raipur, 250 persons had earlier been included in the scheme but after the verification, only 133 are eligible.

Sources in the administration said they were publishing the PMAY beneficiary lists in phases. “More lists will come up in due course,” said an official.

The workers, however, continued their protests, which affected the functioning of the BDO office. A team from Kotwali police station also went to the spot. The police tried to pacify the workers but the protesters didn’t relent.

After some time, Krishna Das, a district Trinamul leader, arrived. He met BDO Debasish Mondal and then spoke to the workers. “The administration will again conduct a verification survey in these gardens. All eligible persons will get houses,” said Das.

After his remarks, the workers started dispersing around 4pm.

Mondal said the officials had sent a team to one of the tea gardens for verification in the afternoon. “We are aware of the tea workers’ demands. Teams will visit their places to confirm that no genuine beneficiary is left out of the PMAY,” he said.

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