Left to seek Centre's help in reopening Bengal tea gardens

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Left to seek Centre's help in reopening Bengal tea gardens
Kolkata, June 30: In the wake of six alleged starvation deaths in a closed tea estate in West Bengal, the opposition Left Front Monday said it would seek the central government's intervention in reopening several such gardens.

Blaming government apathy for the plight of workers of the closed tea gardens in north Bengal, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said a delegation of Left affiliated trade unions would be deputed on a fact-finding mission.

"Earlier, the workers were forced to commit suicide due to poverty and now they are dying of starvation. Even children are dying but this government continues to live in denial," Bose told reporters here.

"We will depute a delegation of our trade unions to the tea estates and meet the workers and their families. We will then put the plight of these workers before the Centre, seeking reopening of these gardens," he added.

Six people, including three women and two infants, have died in the past 10 days in the Raipur Tea Estate in Jalpaiguri district. The garden with about 650 workers has been closed since September 2013.

State Food Minister Jyotipriya Mallick and North Bengal Affairs Minister Gautam Deb, who Sunday visited the Raipur estate, denied the deaths were due to starvation.

"There has been no starvation death in any tea garden. I have talked to the family members of six workers who recently died and they told me that they were suffering from illnesses such as tuberculosis and high blood sugar," Mallick claimed.

IANS

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