Duncan told to honour responsibility towards workers

Duncan told to  honour responsibility towards workers
The Tea Board said on Friday that Duncan should honour its agreement to clear labour wages and other statutory dues to the workers.

The regulator’s statement came while expressing its inability to immediately take control of seven ailing tea gardens owned by Duncan in North Bengal.

All the 14 gardens owned by Duncan have been in limbo for nearly a year with the company not paying wages and other dues.

Tea Board Chairman Santosh Sarangi stated in a letter on January 29, “Till such time, Duncan has to honour the agreements made earlier with state government and the unions. The instant gazette notification should not be used as an instrument by Duncan to deprive the workers from their legitimate dues.”

He also urged the state government to “enforce the agreements made with Duncan for settlement of labour and other statutory dues and for operationalisation of these seven gardens”. In his letter to Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee, Sarangi explained that to take management control it will need clearance from the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).

The Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry had instructed Tea Board to take over seven of the 14 ailing gardens on January 28.

Duncan, however, challenged the Centre’s decision before the Calcutta High Court on January 3. The Centre took the decision after taking into consideration reports submitted by Bengal government and the Tea Board, besides consultations with Duncan management and labour unions.

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