After several months of legal and administrative tangles, the Assam government on Friday decided to increase the daily wage of around 10 lakh tea plantation workers by Rs 38, officials said here.
The issue of higher wages for around 10 lakh tea garden workers in the state was one of the biggest poll issues before the three-phase Assembly elections were held in the state in March-April.
Officials said that Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday held a meeting with the representatives of Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha and other tea bodies and discussed issues pertaining to wage fixation.
“The meeting decided to hike the daily wage of tea workers by Rs 38. With this hike, the tea workers in Brahmaputra Valley would get Rs 205 from the existing Rs 167 and tea workers of Barak Valley (southern Assam) would get Rs 183 from the existing Rs 145,” an official of Assam Chief Minister’s Office said.
He said that in view of the long pending demands of the different tea bodies, the wage of the tea workers would henceforth be hiked and they would get the increased wage with effect from February 23.
Earlier in February, the government had hiked the daily wage by Rs 50, from Rs 167 to Rs 217. However, the decision could not be implemented following cases in the high court.
Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, Minister for Tea Tribe Welfare Sanjay Kisan, Lok Sabha MP Pallab Lochan Das, Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha President Paban Singh Ghatowar, and Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Samir Kumar Sinha were also present in Friday’s meeting.
After coming to power in Assam in 2016, the BJP-led state government had increased the daily wage of tea garden workers by Rs 30.
Assam, which roughly accounts for 55 per cent of India’s total tea production of 1,389.70 million kg, has 856 large tea gardens and over a lakh small tea growers, engaging around 10 lakh workers in this industry.