State Office: BMS Office, # 10, Kiran Shankar Roy Road, Kolkata 7000001; Phone: 033-22101717
Duncans on fault lines!
The leading tea garden company of West Bengal belonging to G.P. Goenkas’ group is in a wrong track since last few years. The company is moving its cards in a very intelligent manner. The huge profit making company has started diverting its funds to Infrastructure ,fertilisers & Chemicals area and also in sunrise areas .But at the same time showing lukewarm attitude towards the Plantation sector which provided them enormous wealth and reputation . The Company neither declaring its plantation company viz, Duncans as sick nor closing down. Because of this ‘dilly dallying tactics’ by the Company, both State and Central government’s are not able to interfere in the affairs. The company has not paid salaries to their employees/ workers for the last 8 months continuously. Earlier also it paid wages to workers on instalments basis. Another biggest fraud is that the company is not providing basic human needs of people like drinking water, ration, electricity and medicines. Due to this many people have died in different gardens like Bagarkote, Hantapara, Dhumchipara, Garganda, Lenkapara etc.
The State Government Officials and Management are singing same song saying that these were not the starvation deaths but deaths are due to non availability of medical facilities at proper time .The management is supplying only FIVE kilograms of Rice and FOUR kilograms of Wheat per person per a month that too substandard quality products. Will the Management tell us how an individual will survive with such a meagre quantity of ration, that too a sub standard quality one? The management supplies drinking water for half an hour per day for around 2500 workers families. Why the Management is in dilemma to declare whether the Garden is closed or running?
Fact Finding Team of BMS :
A Fact Finding Team of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh led by Kum .Poojita Sarkar, State President of BMS West Bengal has visited the 4 gardens of Duncuns Tea Gardens on 4th & 6th of November 2015. The Team has visited Hantapara, Dhumsipara, Garganda and Bagerkote Tea Gardens. The Team consists of Sri B. Surendran ,All India Deputy Organising Secretary ,BMS , New Delhi; Sri Shankar Das , State General Secretary ,BMS , Kolkata ; Sri Kusum Lama ,State Vice President BMS ; Sri Biswajith Guha , BMS Darjeeling Dist .Convenor ; Sri Chandra Kanth Basneth , Organising Secretary of Bangia Cha Mazdoor Sangh ; Sri Ramesh Oraun , CEC member ,BCMS ,Karabela TG; Sri Chabi lal Chetri , Naharkata TG , Sri Amith Rai ,Advocate ,Birpada and Sri Manoj Tigga ,School teacher working among tea garden workers .
The Team met permanent workers, casual workers, family members of deceased people, medical assistants, nurses, village heads, and migrated labour families. Visited factories, water resources, abandoned gardens, wild animals attacked areas, riverside areas where people collect stones for their livelihood, collected samples of ration supplied. The Team met both men and women, belonged to dependents of closed factories. The Team also, visited gardens which were closed some time back, but revived later with change of management.
Livelihood : A big question
Pathetic living conditions :
The down fall :
THE WAY OUT: What State Government can do?
Shankar Das Chandra Kanth Basneth
State General Secretary, BMS Organising Secretary, BCMS
Annexure1. List of persons died recently in different gardens.
1. Bagerkote Tea Gardens, Jalpaiguri District
(As recoded at Garden Hospital)
Name of the Person died
Name of father/ husband
Age & Sex
Date of Death
S/o Late Somey Oraun
W/o Late Saila Biswa
Ciraosis of Liver
Binoy Kumar Chhetri
Late Man chhetri
Padam Lal Bhujil
28-10-2015 Not recorded
29-10-2015 Not recorded
S/o Mani Kumar
31-10-2015 Not recorded
01-11-2015 Not recorded
2.Hantapara Tea Gardens, New Alipurdwar District: 7 people died within Two months duration.
(As per the information given by the co workers of factory)
Name of the person died
Ramakrishna Malik Rai
Jhariya Mahato (F)
Shalimatra Biswakarma (F)
3.Garganda Tea Gardens, New Alipurdwar District.
(As per the information given by the co workers)
Hira Lal Rowtrima
4.Dhumchipara Tea Gardens, New Alipurdwar District –
(15 deaths as per the information given by co workers and retired nurse)
Sex & Age
PTB & Malnutrition
Jet Bahan Lohar
Chronic Lever decease
BMS & BCMS, West Bengal; Sample Study: Fact Sheet on Duncuns Tea Gardens, West Bengal (4-6 N0vember 2015)
Name of the Garden
Areas & Spread over
No. of workers
Medical –Deceases & facilities/ Death reports
Livelihood .Brought leaves
Tea Gardens , New Alipurdwar
160 years old –Closed from April 2005
1740 P.W. & around 1300 C.W.;
Around 10000 Populations. Migration to Delhi ,Haryana, Kerala & Bhutan
Rice-5 Kg, Wheat-6 Kg; Raton due 75 times.
Ration supplied only to P.W. Poor quality of food grains.
Supply only for Half an hour per day for entire population. Treacherous
Only for P.W; Irregular supply.
Asthma, Heart attacks, TB, Malaria,
No ambulance facilities, Pregnant women face unimaginable problems. State Government’s medical team’s visits. Local P.H.C. provides few medicines for both children & aged people.
7 people died within two months.
Salary dues from 2015 April onwards. Irregular payments prior to that. 35 workers have forced to retire without paying 8 months’ salary dues
Rs 46.33 Lakhs dues from 2011 to May 2015
Rs 84.36 Lakhs from 2011 to 2015 July
Rs 4 / per Kg. Store collects. 70 % production’s is very old. So people get leaves only in Young plants.
Stone collections from rivers.
Area & Spread
Tea Gardens ,
New Alipurdwar District
140 years old. 650 acres. 3 divisions. Closed since 2015 April onwards
1000 – CW
50% of Male and 30% Female left villages due to lack of livelihood. Migration to other North Indian States.
Rice -4 Kg ; Wheat -5 Kg per month per person Most sub standard quality of food grains supplied. From 2012 to 2015 ration dues is 75
Only Half an hour supply. Long ques. Sometimes water tanks will come. Normally 2-3 KM has to walk for getting water. Many people won’t bath regularly
Irregular supply. 2-3 hours per day. Company is not helping.
Asthma, Heart attacks, TB, Malaria, Mal nutrition.
16 people died due to lack of medicines at proper time, mal nutrition and safe drinking water.
8 Months salary dues. Even earlier 40% dues only 60 % people have paid.
Sometimes this company has paid on instalment basis.
Lakhs of Rupees dues. An exact due not knows.
Lakhs of Rupees dues. Exact dues not knows
Rs 4/per Kg . Store collection.
More people go as daily wage workers in other gardens
GARGONDA Tea Gardens ,
New Alipurdwar District
125 years old plant. Around 600 acres.
800 – CW
. Lot of Migration to Kerala, Delhi, Dubai and Bhutan.
Wheat -4 Kg per month per person. Worst quality of food grains supplied.
One hour water supply .Only for P.W. Sometimes tanker supply. C.W. Will not get through this. Drank water at which snakes died.
2-3 hour supply per day only for P.W.
This garden is accessible. Not an interior area. Tea Garden hospital exists with Doctor, compounder & infrastructure but without any medicines. Government medical team visit thrice in a week. A mobile medical van comes once in a week. But no ambulance facility.
2 people died recently.
7 months salary dues. Earlier also salary has been paid on instalment basis.
Huge quantity ‘Dues in Lakhs. Workers are doubtful whether their PF contribution has paid or not .
Huge quantity. Figures not known
Rs 4/per Kg.
Goes to other distant gardens as daily wagers. Lives with the mercy of others. “Karo ya maro ” situate on .
4. BAGERKOTE Tea Gardens ,
More than 100 years old.
Around 1000 C.W.- No information ;
Migration to Punjab ,Haryana, Delhi
Rice 6 Kg; Wheat 4 Kg per month per person.
Sub standard food grains are supplied.
Supplied by Block Development Office after the news on death reports.
Limited hours supply
After the starvation deaths reports, the State Government became alert. Now One Doctor with an Ambulance has deputed from 02nd November 2015. SDO & BDO visited.
14 persons died. 3 people survived due to availability of Medical assistance at right time.
8 months salary dues. Rs 38 lakhs up to July.
Fringe benefits are due since last one year
Around 80 Lakhs
LIC sues 20.89 lakhs
Rs 4-5 per Kg .
Store collections .
Sub standard quality of Rice & wheat are supplied. Rice was very old stock also with smell. Both the wheat and Rice contains small stones dust particles of soil. The Ration will be supplied only to Permanent workers. The plight of Contract / Casual workers still worse.