Mamata Invites Tamang On ‘Tea-Meet’


Darjeeling: The Bengal government has decided to hold a “high-level” meeting on issues related to tea gardens on February 22. Binay Tamang has been invited in the meeting.

State Labour Minister Moloy Ghatak extended the invitation to Tamang when a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha delegation comprising he and MLAs from Darjeeling and Kalimpong, Amar Singh Rai and Rohit Sharma, respectively, called on him in Kolkata on Friday.

Till date, tea garden union leaders were invited to such meetings. “Since the tea gardens are the economic backbone of the hills, we raised issues related to implementation of minimum wages, land rights and disbursement of remaining bonus to the workers,” said Tamang.

The minister told Tamang that “a high level” meeting would be convened by the state government at Uttarkanya in Siliguri on February 22. “I have been invited to attend the meeting and I will,” said Tamang, the Morcha chief.

The Morcha and the GNLF have threatened to stop dispatch of first flush tea and even the samples from March onwards if the 50 per cent of the remaining bonus is not cleared by then.

Issues related to cinchona plantations like granting jobs, promotion and wage revisions were also discussed during Friday’s meeting.

Since Ghatak is also the state law minister, the Morcha delegation raised some “technical” problems that were coming in the way of granting bail to those arrested during the 104-day agitation.

According to Tamang, the police have submitted many chargesheets in the courts of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik according to legal process.