Employees pace up work before long shut down
Darjeeling/Kurseong, Feb 20:
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) affiliated labour wing of the party Wednesday asked all the tea garden labours to refrain from the bandh and attend their duties called by central trade unions in protest against the union government tactics of raising prices in the country.
The labour wing’s decision to ask all the labours go to their duties may have given a huge sigh of relief to the tea garden managements as of now but the party running high in confidence at the moment to start a fresh agitation has called for a series of bandh in the hills and it is expected that the party will not spare the tea industry too.
“It is the cultivation period right now. So it would not be wise to observe the strike today as that would have only hampered the labours. The labours would have lost a day’s earning. From March onwards it is the plucking season. No matter what the state government or the management faces at that time we will shut down the gardens too,” said P.T.Sherpa, the president of the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union (DTDPLU).
March is the time for first flush production and strike during the period however is expected to hit the industry hard. “The strike called next month will definitely hamper the plucking of first flush production. It is the peak season. None of the tea gardens were affected by the strike today,” admitted Sandeep Mukherjee, the principal advisor to the Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA). There are 67,000 tea labours working in 87 tea estates while only one Ringtong Tea estate has been shut since 1996.
Tour operators were happy as none of the hill town observed the strike. All business establishment, schools, government establishment and other remained open and traffic flow across the hills remained normal. “There is no report of tourist suffering due to strike today,” claimed Pradip lama, a tour operator.
If government offices remaining open today, people from across different places has started to make a beeline to the offices to complete their works hurriedly. The reason however lies in that fact that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has called for a shut down of government offices both under Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and state government from March 9 to 27.
Sources added that even the employees have started working at a random pace to complete all the pending works before the dawn to dusk bandh. The Morcha has also called for a series of bandhs beginning March 14.