Pay 20 percent puja bonus: Gogoi to tea companies

Guwahati, Oct 3 (IANS) Ahead of the forthcoming festive season, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday asked all tea companies to pay 20 percent puja bonus to workers.

“The tea companies should pay 20 percent puja bonus to the tea workers, which are their due. It is our duty to see that the tea workers’ interests are protected and they get their dues in time,” Gogoi said.

He said the tea companies, which have not decided as yet to pay 20 percent bonus, should make their stand clear to avoid any unrest or resentment.

Festival bonus to tea workers has always been a sensitive issue in almost all tea gardens in the state. Every year, the government has to take steps to ensure bonus to the workers to avoid resentment, which sometimes even leads to law and order problem.

Assam has about 850 large and medium-size tea gardens with over 12 lakh workers in the industry that produces over 75 percent of India’s total tea.

Of the 850 gardens, the state-owned Assam Tea Corporation Limited (ATCL) has 15 gardens, where about 15,000 tea workers are employed.

The ATCL gardens have already committed to pay 20 percent as bonus to the workers.

“When the loss-making ATCL can dispense 20 percent puja bonus, other tea companies should also replicate the same for the benefit of the workers,” Gogoi said.

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