Jalpaqiguri, Oct 6 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh today assured that the closed tea gardens in New Jalpaiguri would soon be reopened.
Talking to newsmen here, Mr Ramesh said the Centre would take up the cause of reopening at least 11 of the 13 closed tea gardens.
'' The lease of these tea gardens will eventually be cancelled and the gardens will be taken over by the Centre under Article 16(E) of the Tea Act, 1953, in order to reopen them, '' he added.
He, however, maintained that the only motive behind the takeover would be to reopen these tea gardens for the benefit of the industry and the people involved in it.
Out of the 13, lease of Kathalguri and Ramjhora tea gardens would be cancelled, he informed.
Four meetings had been held between Mr Ramesh and the trade unions, concerned Banks and the tea garden owners to asses the situation.
The meetings prepared ground for a three-stage survey to be conducted by a committee, which had already started taking shape to address the need of the time in reviving these tea gardens.
The committee was set up on August 29 this year. The committee would include Tea Board Chairman, two members each from North Bengal, Kerala and Tamilnadu.
In the first phase of survey, a showcause letter would be sent to the tea garden owners, demanding to know if anything was being done to reopen these gardens, and what compensation would be provided to the labourers, who worked in these gardens.
In the second phase, letters would be served to the Banks - UCO Bank, UBI, Allahbad Bank, Bank of Baroda, and Syndicate Bank - to assess the financial condition of these gardens.
In the third phase, advertisements would be given for new potential buyers of these gardens.
The families of the labourers, who lost their jobs, would receive a one-time grant of Rs 2,000.