Darjeeling: The Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union (DTDPLU, affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) will stop the dispatch of tea from Hill tea gardens from Thursday. The Joint Forum of Tea Unions will stop the plucking of leaves in the tea gardens from March 11. The move comes in protest against the non-payment of arrears in around 60 percent tea gardens in the Hills.
This is the time of the premium first flush tea, which is exported. “In January 2018, the daily wages of tea garden workers had been increased by Rs 17.50. However, in most of the gardens in the Hills, the increment took effect from March 2018. A year has passed and the arrears have still not been paid,” stated Balam Tamang, president, Darjeeling sub-division committee, DTDPLU.
The Joint Forum (conglomeration of 6 unions) has launched a dharna at the Darjeeling Tea Association. “We will hold gate meetings from Thursday till March 9. If arrears are not paid by March 10, we will stop the plucking of tea leaves from March 11,” stated J B Tamang, convener of the forum. It may be mentioned that there are 87 tea gardens in the Darjeeling Hills.