'Status of plantation labour lags in some states'

'Status of plantation labour lags in some states'

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said the status of workers and their families employed in the closed down tea plantations in some parts of the country were not good and the government was looking at ways to help them.

"The situation is not good and we are making efforts to do something in that direction," Sitharaman said.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, she said the status of the workers in plantations in various parts of the country was bad."I do not want to mention the name of any state but the situation is bad in many states."

The workers were living in very old damaged houses without any schools for children and did not have roads.

"They do not even have a Primary Health Centre. That is the situation. If there is a loss in the tea estate, the owners close down and go. Even if they close and go, none can claim it as a public property. One cannot say he is government and go inside. The government cannot replace the plantation workers house nor do anything that would benefit them," she said, when asked to elaborate.

On electronics parts makers, and Foxconn deciding to wind up its operations in Chennai, she said, "We are consciously watching the situation and would take efforts. It is not, as if we are indifferent to the issue. There are a lot of issues involved in this. i.e. international laws with international companies. We are debating the issue and would come up with a solution."

Asked whether companies from abroad came here through FDI and wind up operations after they are done, she said, "Don’t treat all FDIs in the same way. In some cases, we need FDI, else, we don’t have investors in the field. How long are we going to remain without investors? So, we are opening FDI. At the same time, not all FDIs are bad to us. So, advocating to stop all FDIs is not appropriate."

Asked for her reaction to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the arrest of her partyman Madan Mitra in Saradha scam, Sitharaman said the investigation into the case and the eventual arrest was done as per law.

"Saradha scam didn't come after Prime Minister Modi came to power. It has been for long and there have been many inquiries by CBI on the issue. Whenever anyone is to be arrested, documents are kept ready on the matter.

So, none is going to benefit by accusing Modi or BJP or the Central government. The common man has been affected in the scam. And whatever has happened has happened as per law," she said.

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