Silchar, Sep 26 (UNI) Cachar district administration has asked the tea management of the Barak valley of Assam to complete Durga Puja bonus disbursement between October 5 and 10. There will be a review of the process by the administration on October 11.
It has also been decided that all the tea garden managements will submit their balance sheet to the trade unions by October 3, official sources said here today.
Deputy commissioner Gautom Ganguly during a meeting of the management, workers' unions and the administration on the issue of bonus held here during the day, has also asked the managements to pay this year's Puja bonus atleast at per with last year or more than that.
The quantum of bonus given by the managements of 116 tea gardens in Barak Valley last year ranged from 8.33 per cent to 20 per cent, the sources said.
Representatives of Tea Association of India (TAI) Barak Valley branch and Indian Tea Association (ITA) Surma Valley branch during the meeting stressed that the managements should be allowed to disburse this year's bonus in installments. They said the industry has been passing through severe depression due to current wave of flood and therefore quite a few gardens might find it difficult to pay bonus to their workers this year.
They said tea belt in the three districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj in Barak Valley, has incurred financial loss to the tune of more than Rs 20 crore over past three months due to natural calamities including current wave of devastating flood.
However, representatives of Intuc-affiliated Cachar Cha Shramik Union (CCSU), Citu and BMS-affiliated Cachar Cha Mazdur Samiti demanded that last years level of bonus should be maintained at any cost.
Industry sources said while in 2006, the average price for a Barak Valley tea was about Rs 63.64, this year, it is around Rs 59.
Barak Valley tea gardens, known as Cachar Tea, produce 52-55 million kg of tea. This year, production has increased marginally.
More than 80,000 people are employed in tea estates of the Barak Valley.