MP Raju Bista writes to Tea Board of India Chairman demanding to take legal action against DOTEPL

Siliguri, 29th September: Amidst uproar over the payment of bonuses to the tea garden workers of the hills, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista wrote to the Chairman of Tea Board of India to take legal action against the Darjeeling Organic Tea Estates Private Limited (DOTEPL).


The MP informed the Chairman that the managers and administrative staff of the DOTEPL which runs 10 tea gardens in Darjeeling hills, namely – Happy Valley, Ambootia, Monteviot, Magarjung, Moonda-Bansghari, Rongmook Cedar, Chongtong, Alubari, Rangeyroong and Pandam Tea Estates have fled the gardens. He alleged that they are most probably doing this under instructions from the tea estate owners in order to avoid paying the workers their due wages and the puja bonus. 

Bists further took a jibe at the state government, the district administration and the GTA and held them equally responsible as the garden owners for the financial crises being faced by the workers.


MP Raju Bista's Press Release stated:

Today, I have asked the Chairman, Tea Board of India to take legal action against the Darjeeling Organic Tea Estates Private Limited

I have informed the Chairman that the Managers and Administrative staff of the Darjeeling Organic Tea Estates Private Limited (DOTEPL) which runs 10 tea gardens in Darjeeling hills, namely – Happy Valley, Ambootia, Monteviot, Magarjung, Moonda-Bansghari, Rongmook Cedar, Chongtong, Alubari, Rangeyroong and Pandam Tea Estates have fled the gardens. They are most likely doing this under instructions from the tea estate owner(s), to avoid paying the workers their due wages and the puja bonus. 

This is a very unfortunate development, and at the same time, nothing less than a criminal act. 

In the recent past, the WB Government, the Darjeeling District Administration, and the GTA administrators had rushed through negotiations with the DOTEPL representatives that had caused the garden to be shut down in the first place, then opened, and shut down again. 

Even though it is because of the failure of the WB Govt, Darjeeling District Administration, and the GTA Administrators that the workers are once again forced to face a financial abyss, the tea garden owner(s) are equally to be blamed. Given the way the tea companies are willing to forsake the lives of nearly 10,000 workers and their dependent family members in a lurch, they have exhibited sheer opportunism and lack of empathy for the plight of the workers'.

I am therefore requesting you to kindly initiate legal proceedings against the DOTEPL under Section 16 of the Tea Act, 1953 including cancellation of their licences, and initiating criminal complaints against them.

I am looking forward to hearing from him with 'action taken' report at the earliest.

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