The management of the Doloo tea estate in Cachar district in Assam has announced a complete lockout in the tea garden with effect from Tuesday.
The closure of the tea garden was announced in an order passed by Supriya Sikdar, the deputy manager of the tea estate.
The lockout will render around 1,500 permanent workers and 1,000-odd temporary labourers jobless for an indefinite period of time.
As per the order issued, the closure of the tea garden was announced as it was observed that a large section of tea garden workers was regularly disobeying the lawful daily deployment order of the garden management. They were working on their own will, leading to complete lawlessness in the garden.
“Due to complete lawlessness and delay in reporting at workplace by the workers, plucking rounds could not be maintained, leading to the management of Doloo Tea Estate suffering irreparable loss in terms of quantity and quality of the tea produced,” the notice read.
Further, the management stated that, as it became absolutely impossible to run and manage the garden meaningfully, “hereby the management declares a lockout of all the operations of the garden with immediate effect except emergency services such as hospital, watch & ward, security, water supply and electricity.
During the lockout period, the employees will not be entitled to any wages, ration, and other related facilities, the notice mentioned.
A tea garden worker said, “We had no idea about this decision taken by the management beforehand. We came to work as usual in the morning and then came to know about this lockout. We have not yet received the payment for the whole week We have no idea what will happen to us.”
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Sushmita Dev tweeted, “While we are all busy fighting floods, the Dolu Tea Estate which was in the eye of the storm for land acquisition for airport in Silchar declares a lockout. Worse situation for the workers of the tea estate in the midst of this crises.”
It needs to be mentioned here that for the construction of a ‘greenfield airport’ in the region, the state administration had uprooted around three million tea bushes and thousands of shade trees in the Doloo tea estate.