Prashant Acharya, EOI, SILIGURI, 12 Jul 2016: After continuous pressure on the management by the labour union, workers of five tea gardens under the GTA, three owned by the Alchemist group, and two others, finally hope to see some respite.

Today’s tripartite meeting at the Joint Labour Commissioner’s office in Siliguri decided that the due wages and salaries of the gardens under the Alchemist group will be paid on installment basis.
The management of the three gardens, namely Kalej Valley, Dootriah and Peshok, all owned by the Alchemist group, have agreed to pay Rs50 lakh as first installment and Rs22 lakh by the end of next week. The management also said they have already deposited the first installment.
Following this, the trade union has agreed to allow the dispatch of tea from the factories after second installment is paid.
Tilak Chandra Roka, legal advisor for the GJM-backed Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union (DTDPLU), said the meeting was fruitful and the Alchemist group management agreed to pay previous dues on installment basis.
Regarding Panighatta tea estate, he said the government has sought a report from the labour commissioner, and as for the reopening of Jogmaya tea garden, a meeting has been called on July 14.
Dootriah, Kalej Valley and Peshok tea gardens owe dues up to Rs10 crore towards workers’ provident fund, gratuity, salary and wages and other fringe benefits, while the workers of Jogmaya tea estate are to get Rs45 lakh in dues. Panighatta has a pending amount of more than Rs2 crore in PF, gratuity, wages and salary.
Today’s meeting was attended by JLC Samir Kumar Bose, Alchemist group manager Suman Moktan, PT Sherpa and Tilak Chandra Roka from DTDPLU.