- NET Web Desk
“Friends of Doloo” – a group advocating for safeguarding the labour rights of tea garden workers has launched a Twitter campaign against the state administration for uprooting 3 million tea bushes and thousands of shade trees in Doloo Tea Estate along Assam’s Cachar District, in order to construct a ‘Greenfield Airport’.
In an official statement, the group appealed “environment-conscious stakeholders to unitedly raise their voice against the ‘destruction in the name of development’. We take to the streets with our posters, and tell them that we are not in favor of this destruction.”
On the other side, due to the heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces on Sunday, representatives of the Doloo Cha Bagan Bachao Samanway Samitee were unable to conduct a protest in front of the Cachar Deputy Commissioner (DC)’s office.
Meanwhile, the organization will stage a massive agitation at Silchar on June 15, which will likely to be attended by more than 2,000 tea workers and leaders of political and non-political organizations.
“Doloo is a large tea garden in the Cachar district. Of the four divisions of the tea estate, the Mayanagarh and Lalbagh divisions spread over 2,500 bighas of land. There are 3 million yielding tea bushes and thousands of shed trees. About 2,500 tea labourers work in these two divisions to earn their daily bread,” the statement mentioned.
“On March 7, an agreement was signed between the Doloo Tea Company and the three labour unions CITU, BMS and INTUC in the presence of the District Magistrate and Assistant Labour Commissioner of Cachar, where an agreement was signed which states 2500 bighas will be handed-over to the government for the construction of Greenfield Airport.” – the letter further reads.
The letter further added that “none of the workers’ unions had any discussion with the affected workers before signing the agreement. It is also a mystery that Doloo garden was chosen by chopping down the yielding tea bushes, compensating the owner, despite having abundant land nearby.”
Its worthy to note that recently, the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) has also expressed concerns about the wellbeing of roughly 2000 tea garden employees at the Daloo tea plantation in the Cachar district, and therefore requested the state administration to offer them with “alternative livelihood”.
However, tea garden employees are concerned that the transfer might result into employment loss and lead towards instability for their families and children. These workers have also voiced their displeasure over the matter, following the state administration commenced felling-down tea bushes at the Daloo tea estate in preparation for a greenfield airport.