Assam tea garden workers demand subsidised rations, cash payments

Guwahati, Jan 19 (IANS) Hundreds of tea garden workers took to the streets in different parts of the state on Thursday in protest against the anti-people policies of the BJP government and demanded continuation of the subsidised rations for them and immediate roll back of cashless payment.

The tea garden workers under the banner of Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) organised rallies in different areas in Dibrugarh, Sivsagar, Golaghat, Charaideo and Sonitpur and held protest demonstrations against the alleged anti-people policies of the governments at Delhi and Dispur.

They also blocked highways at different places including Numaligarh, Demow, Jamugurihat and shouted slogans demanding continuation of the subsidised rations and rollback of cashless payments.

“We have observed a protest day across the state today (Thursday) due to the anti-people policies of the government, which had badly hit the tea garden workers in Assam.

“The tea garden workers have been receiving ration at subsidised rates since time immemorial. But there is a conspiracy to stop the subsidised ration to the workers,” said ACMS President and former Lok Sabha MP Pawan Singh Ghatowar.

“The tea garden workers are not going to accept this. The government has also not made it clear whether the workers would get the amount transferred to their account as per the subsidised rate or the market price,” Ghatowar added.

He also said that the tea garden workers also want the government to bring back the cash payment system instead of transferring their wages in their account.

“There are not sufficient ATMs in the tea garden areas and the labourers have to walk for miles to take out money from their account,” he said, adding that it is difficult for them as they are not accustomed to the cashless system.

“Garden workers are finding it difficult to get used to the cashless system. The government must bring back the old system of cash payments to the tea gardens, which is easier for them.

“People here are going to bed hungry after this cashless system. If the labourers are hungry, it is a law and order problem and only the government is responsible for this,” Ghatowar said.