No tea garden worker to lose job, home for Assam airport construction: BJP MP

Silchar (Assam), May 14 (PTI) BJP MP Rajdeep Roy on Saturday assured the protesting workers of a tea estate in Assam’s Cachar district that they will not lose their jobs and none will be evicted from their houses due to the construction of an airport.

This is not an eviction drive but a land acquisition process, which is going on for a key infrastructural project in Barak Valley that has allegedly been neglected for a long time, Roy said.

The Cachar district administration has started clearing the Doloo tea estate to set up the greenfield airport amid protests as the workers are fearing that they will lose their livelihood.

There will be no job cuts and none would be evicted from their homes as the interest of the workers of Doloo tea estate is paramount, the Cachar Lok Sabha MP claimed, alleging that people with vested interest are trying to bring disrepute to the initiative.

”The disbursement of payments in the form of gratuity and provident fund has already started. Altogether 170 workers have already received their due payments and all pending payments will soon be cleared, he said in a statement.

The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 50 crore for the acquisition of the land. The Doloo tea garden said it has already deposited Rs 1.57 crore in the workers’ Provident Fund (PF) account. The gratuity cheques were handed to the garden workers at a function on Monday.

Only 2500 bighas are being used for the airport while the rest of the land will be used for planting more trees and the Doloo tea estate management has given its consent to the district administration regarding this, he said.

There are 1200 permanent and 500 casual workers in the tea estate and none will lose their jobs, he claimed.

”We stand by the cause of these labourers, are sympathetic towards them and have taken care of everything. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by all stakeholders, the BJP MP said.

Representatives of the government, the tea estate management and unions have signed the MoU.

Union leaders cannot be reached for their comments.

State Congress president Bhupen Bora has accused Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of not considering the plight of the workers but acting in the interest of a few industrialists.

Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Sushmita Dev claimed that the administration has completely mishandled the situation.