April 2020 \ Business & Investment \ BUSINESS AND GOVERNANCE

Most of the 850-odd tea gardens in the northeastern states ...

By Sujit Chakraborty
  • Mr Ajay Bhalla

Most of the 850-odd tea gardens in the northeastern states, mostly in Assam, have started plucking and processing after weeks of suspension of works due to lockdown caused by COVID-19 pandemic. Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla in his consolidated guidelines asked the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories to resume the works of the tea industries including plantation works with maximum of 50 per cent workers.

“Besides the lockdown measures, social distancing and proper hygiene practices must be ensured in the works of the tea gardens. Head of the organisations and establishments must ensure compliance of the norms and guidelines,” said Mr Bhalla in his order, available with IANS.

Tea Association of India (TAI) Assam branch Secretary Dipanjal Deka said that Assam tea gardens have over 100 years of legacy to maintain discipline and hygiene. “Most of the 800-odd tea gardens in Assam have started plucking, processing and relevant works from Monday and Tuesday. Not only this ongoing unusual situation, discipline and hygiene are always followed in tea gardens and the workers are very familiar with these practices,” Mr Deka told IANS.

He said that around eight lakh workers are associated with the Assam tea gardens and processing works including in factories. “All workers are using face masks and other protective gears when they are engaged in work. These masks are mostly made by the workers and their family members. Some NGOs are also providing various necessities to the workers,” TAI official said.

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