Congress questions Trinamool’s stand on Bengal tea industry

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Kolkata, June 29 (IANS) Accusing the Mamata Banerjee government of avoiding the issue of the state’s ailing tea estates, the Congress on Wednesday questioned why the ruling Trinamool Congress was afraid of confronting the Centre over it.

“We demand that the Chief Minister ask the Centre why it is trying to kill the tea industry in Bengal. Despite the serious condition of the tea industry, why is the state Finance Minister (Amit Mitra) silent. Is he afraid of the BJP,” asked Congress leader Manas Bhunia.

“Why isn’t the Chief Minister taking the fight against the BJP over the issue. We will support the fight for the sake of tea industry and for the sake of Bengal,” he said.

The Congress, which raised the issue in the Assembly, also questioned the state government’s announcement to take over six closed tea estates.

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“By keeping the Assembly in the dark, the Chief Minister is acting in a whimsical way. Here the Labour Minister Moloy Ghatak says no tea estate has been closed, but in North Bengal the Chief Minister announces about taking over of the closed tea estates,” said Congress legislator Sukhbilas Barma.

On a visit to North Bengal, Banerjee on Tuesday had announced that the state government will take over six closed tea gardens and put them up for auction, and said a policy in this regard will be formulated soon.

Pointing to the Centre’s notification of taking over the control of seven tea gardens owned by the Duncans Group, Bhunia too questioned the state government’s move.

“It’s good that the state government says that it will take over the tea estates. But the Centre has already announced doing that. When the Centre has already initiated the process, can the state government do that. Is it allowed by the laws of the country,” asked Bhunia.

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