Jalpaiguri, Oct 16 (UNI) Defence Minister Pranab Mukhopadhyay today handed over a Durga Puja sop of Rs 1,56,57,000 to District Magistrate A Ramesh to be distributed amongst 12,657 employees of closed tea gardens in the district.
Out of the 13 tea gardens in the district, two have been reopened by the state government and the rest have been served show cause letters by the Centre.
Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh today said he was glad that he has been able to materialise the promise he gave on October 5 to the workers of these tea gardens. Each of the workers will get a onre-time relief amount of Rs 1,000.
Three, out of the 11 tea gardens, who had been served the show cause notices, have responded.
Under the 16(E), 1953 Act, the lease of the owners these tea garden will be cancelled and tenders will be floated for new owners.
Mr Mukhopadhyay welcomed Mr Ramesh's decision and handed over the relief money to the families of those who lost their jobs after the tea gardens were closed down.
The central government has come up with new schemes for the improvement of the condition of the tea industry in the state.
On this occasion, Mr Mukhopadhyay today told news persons here at the Jalpaiguri Tea Auction Centre, that under the 11th Five Year plan, a large portion of the welfare funds will be utilised for the education, health and drinking water sectors.
He also asserted that due initiative will also be taken up to reopen the closed tea gardens in Jalpaiguri.