`Tea garden labourers severely discriminated`
Karimganj: Noted social activist Swami Agnivesh on Sunday alleged that tea garden labourers of Cachar district in Assam were severely discriminated by the owners.
"They get minimal wages in comparison to other parts of the country and are exploited both by the state government and the proprietors of tea estates as there is a strong nexus between them," Agnivesh told a news agency.
The daily wage of labourers here is only Rs 72 while in tea estates of south India it is Rs 135 and in Brahmaputra Valley it is Rs 85 per person, he said.
He asked the reason for such discrimination by proprietors and the state government towards workers of Barak Valley when workers in the tea gardens across the country do the same kind of work.
He said that tea was one of the most profitable industries in the country and it was very unfortunate that the workers were being discriminated and exploited.
"The minimum wage for a tea garden worker should be Rs 15,000 per month as the tea industry has been making huge profits in recent years and it is the duty of planters to pay satisfactory wages to the workers," he said.
The rights of workers to fair wage, bonus, provident fund, housing and basic medical facilities in accordance with the Plantation Labour Act, 1951 have not been enforced in Barak Valley in general and Cachar in particular, he alleged.
"The schools for children of the workers lack basic infrastructure, sanitation and basic amenities and the students hardly get any facility that those in urban areas enjoy," he said.
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