Cooch Behar: The situation in the closed tea gardens of north Bengal was not good, West Bengal Human Rights Commission chairman Shyamal Kumar Sen said on 21 May.
Talking to newsmen after visiting several tea gardens, Sen said the condition of Ramjhora tea estate which he visited today was not good.
“The condition of the people in Bharnabari and Raipur tea estates was miserable”, he added.
“Tea leaves are drying up. A committee is selling tea leaves but that money is not enough for the survival of the workers. They are suffering from lack of drinking water, power, retirement benefit, provident fund and gratuity. The workers are demanding reopening of the closed tea gardens”, Sen said.
At Ramjhora tea estate, the panchayat samity was running the health centre of that garden.
He said he was told that many persons had died in that garden.
However, starvation was not the sole reason for the deaths of employees of sick tea gardens. Malnutrition, illness and poverty were also responsible for the deaths, he said.
On several occasions since 2004, the WBHRC chairman said he had asked the principal secretry of state labour department and others concerned to furnish a report to him about possibility of revival of the sick gardens but he was yet to get any report.
Replying to a question, he said tea garden owners should be prosecuted if they failed to give provident fund dues of the workers.