Other States

Assam tea plantation workers protest against clearing of estate for airport

Activists of Assam Tea Tribe Students’ Association (ATSA) staging a protest against the State government’s move to set up a Greenfield airport at Cachar’s Doloo Tea Estate, in Golaghat district on May 15, 2022.

Activists of Assam Tea Tribe Students’ Association (ATSA) staging a protest against the State government’s move to set up a Greenfield airport at Cachar’s Doloo Tea Estate, in Golaghat district on May 15, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

GUWAHATI

Workers of a tea plantation in Cachar district of southern Assam, fearing loss of livelihood after the clearing of a part of the estate for a commercial airport, have sought Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s attention.

Around 2,000 workers of the Doloo Tea Estate have been protesting since May 12, when the district authorities engaged excavators to uproot tea bushes for a new international Greenfield airport project. The place is near Kumbhirgram, the existing airport for Barak Valley operated by the Indian Air Force.

“The district administration is not allowing the members of workers’ unions and the affected plantation workers to demonstrate. A few of us have also been detained, but we are not giving up our protest,” Mrinal Kanti Shome, general secretary of the Assam Majoori Shramik Union told The Hindu on Tuesday.

Workers of the plantation said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which enjoys the votes of the “tea tribes”, should not have “bulldozed” their only source of income.

Agreement signed: officials

The district officials denied any eviction plan, pointing out that the estate was on government land and an agreement had been signed between the Doloo Tea Company India Ltd and three unions representing the workers for the airport project. Compensation to clear the workers’ dues was factored into the agreement, they said.

But the workers said they had rejected this agreement in two public hearings at the Moinagarh and Lalbagh divisions of the 9,965-bigha estate. They airport project will take up about 2,500 bighas across 21 sections of the tea estate.

Mr. Shome said the government could have spared Doloo, a fairly profit-making estate, and used the land of an estate under lockout.

Ramandeep Kaur, Superintendent of Police, Cachar, said the situation in Doloo was normal and work to clear the area for the airport project was progressing smoothly.

There are speculations in the Cachar district that the Chief Minister would be meeting the agitating plantation workers by the end of the month.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

Printable version | May 25, 2022 5:38:43 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-tea-plantation-workers-protest-against-clearing-of-estate-for-airport/article65457227.ece