Rajya Sabha

December 9, 2019

Shanta Chhetri demands hike in wages of tea garden workers

Shanta Chhetri demands hike in wages of tea garden workers


Thank you, Sir for allowing me to speak. Sir, Darjeeling tea is the first thing we have in the morning, which gives us our first smile of the day. It is high time that the government pay back the workers and the tea-garden owners with a much deserving return gift. 

Sir, sprawling tea-gardens in the green foothills of West Bengal’s Dooars region provides livelihood to the majority of the area’s tribal population. Unfortunately, the market rate of tea and the overall cost of producing has forced many tea-gardens to close down. This consequently forced labourers to look for other sources of earning. 

Seeing the plight of the tea workers the State Government has started providing rice and atta (wheat) at Rs 2 per kg. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister who calls himself a former ‘chaiwala’  had promised to look into the issue of the plantation workers. 

Til 2011 when wages of the tea workers was only Rs 67 per day. Ever since, our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has gradually increased it to its present rate of Rs 176 per day and formed the tea directorate for the welfare of the tea workers.

Therefore Sir, I urge the Hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry to implement the Minimum Wage Act in the tea-gardens and provide subsidy to the tea-gardens for the modernisation and replantation. Urgently set up a centrally located hospital for the tea workers and their dependents, provide scholarships for the children of tea workers willing to pursue higher education.

Finally give a serious look into the grave issue of our world famous Darjeeling tea brand being wrongfully misrepresented by the Nepal tea, thereby adversely affecting our tea industry.

Thank you, Sir.