Tea gardens in the Hills of North Bengal will now have an MR shop, health center, and a labour department office.
This was decided in a meeting between Anit Thapa, Vice Chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) Board of Administrators and the West Bengal Government.
"This had been a long-standing demand of the tea gardens and the GTA. Finally, the West Bengal Government has agreed to the proposal given by the GTA," stated Thapa after a meeting with Jyotipriya Mullick, Food Minister, Government of West Bengal in Kolkata.
"Each tea garden will now have a three-storied building that will house an MR shop, a health centre and a labour office. The State Government will be giving each garden Rs. 8 lakhs and 77 thousand for construction of this building" added Thapa.
There are 87 tea gardens in the Darjeeling Hills. The Darjeeling Tea Industry engages 60,000 permanent workers and 40,000 seasonal workers. Around 4 lakh people reside in the 87 odd plantations under the Darjeeling tea industry. There is 17,500
hectares of land under tea cultivation in Darjeeling.
Thapa stated that the recent 105-day-long bandh has pushed the tea gardens into a major crisis.
"Foodgrains under the PDS had not been distributed for 4 months during the bandh period. The Food Minister stated that rations that had not been distributed during the bandh will be distributed now at the earliest" added Thapa.
The State Government has also agreed to construct godowns to stock food grains in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik, and Kalimpong.
"Each godown will have the capacity to stock 5000 metric tons of food grains each. In case of an emergency like natural calamities if food grains fail to arrive from the plains then PDS will continue with the food grains being distributed from the existing stock in these 4 godowns" stated Thapa.
The Vice Chairman of the GTA Board of Directors complained that the Kerosene oil quota distributed through the PDS has also been increased for the Hill tea gardens.
Thapa on Tuesday approached the West Bengal Government with issues pertaining to the Hill Municipalities namely Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik, and Kalimpong.
Thapa held a meeting with Firhad Hakim, the Minister in charge of Municipal Affairs, Government of West Bengal on Tuesday.
Thapa apprised the Municipal Affairs Minister of the acute water shortage faced by Kalimpong town along with the need for rainwater harvesting projects for the Darjeeling town. Waste management (both solid and liquid) was also discussed.