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Assam Tea Worker’s Daily Wage Increased by Rs 26

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Tea Estate Workers

The Indian Tea Association, one of the principal petitioners challenging the interim wage revision for tea workers in the Gauhati High Court, has decided to raise daily wages by Rs 26. The BJP-led government in Assam raised tea workers' daily salaries to Rs 217 from Rs 167 ahead of the assembly elections. Tea wages are a contentious topic in Assam polling.

The high court has granted tea estates the authority to pay workmen any interim wage increases they consider appropriate until the issue is resolved by the court. At a meeting on Sunday, the association's national committee reviewed the court order and voted to increase salaries for laborers in the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys by Rs 26 per day, effective February 22.

The tea wage hike has become a campaign issue for the Congress. Rahul Gandhi, a Congress leader, said that if elected, the daily wage would be increased to Rs 365 in six hours. The Congress is campaigning on the fact that the BJP-led government vowed to raise daily salaries to Rs 350 but failed to do so.

In the 2016 assembly elections, Tea tribe votes, which have a significant impact on deciding the winners in 30-35 seats, shifted to the BJP. In the organized industry, Assam has over 10 lakh tea workers who work in about 850 large estates. About 55 percent of India's tea is produced in the state. More than 60 lakh people live in the tea belts of the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys.

The employers' union and sector had a bilateral salary pact that expired in December 2017. A committee was constituted by the BJP-led government to amend the minimum wage. On Sunday in Bokakhat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Congress has ignored the tea community's welfare.

“The tea wages have been increased. Due to the fact that the case is in court, certain issues have arisen. When our government returns, we will take action in this respect. He said, "We have come up with a Rs 1,000 package for the welfare of the tea tribe people."

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