Representative image
Representative image

Deprived of clean drinking water, North Bengal tea garden workers cry foul

By Joymala Bagchi (ANI) | Updated: Apr 16, 2019 06:59 IST

Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], Apr 16 (ANI): "We experience a severe scarcity of drinking water here throughout the year. However, the problem intensifies during the summer. Most of the wells dry up and all the families here rely on nearby taps as the only water source. Vote or no vote, our condition has never improved," says Vijoy Munda a tea worker from Matigara Tea Estate, Darjeeling District.
Akin Munda, thousands of workers working in tea gardens of North Bengal are deprived of clean drinking water.
Tea companies, which employ these workers instead of offering help, shrug off their responsibility or silently put the onus on the state government.
Another tea garden worker from Mohurganj Gulma Tea Estate, Sanjay Souriya said, "Corporation water is available in cities twice a day but we are deprived of that too. Are we not voters, don't we cast our vote? In fact, we never missed our vote yet we have remained victims since ages. Either the company or the state government, someone must have to answer."
"The company do send labour in-charge but they do not understand us. Moreover, after regular complaining for nine years, we are really tired now", he added.
The condition is such that on several days these people are forced to buy packaged drinking water to meet their daily requirements.
"There are six members in my family and with a daily wage of Rs 160, we only know how we afford to buy packaged drinking water," says Mumta Biwi.
Their ordeal does not end here, including the water crisis, the tea garden workers are also deprived of other basic facilities like heath care and housing.
Alok Chakraborty, the Central Committee President, INTUC, (National Union of Plantation Workers) said: "The condition of the tea estates is good. Tea market is booming but the condition of tea workers is pathetic. The issues related to daily minimum wage, drinking water, housing and health are real. It effects can be seen in their lifestyle and of course, in their thought process." (ANI)

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