Starvation deaths in Bengal tea gardens

SILIGURI (WEST BENGAL) DEC. 25. Former naxalite and trade union leader, Kanu Sanyal, today alleged that 68 jobless workers of a tea garden in Jalpaiguri district had died of starvation and waterborne diseases since a lockout was declared in the tea garden in October.

At a press conference here, Mr. Sanyal said the management of the Kanthalguri garden had withdrawn ration, medicine and even drinking water facilities, forcing the workers to consume muddy river water.

Terming the situation in the north Bengal tea gardens as "explosive", he claimed that the combined toll of tea workers in 23 gardens, under lockout for varying periods in the current year, was more than 600.

Mr. Sanyal said the oppression against tea workers needed to be immediately probed by an independent body.