With an eye on the panchayat election next year,the state government has decided to conduct a survey to determine how many tea workers have land pattas and access to benefits.
A committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of home secretary Basudeb Banerjee to conduct the survey.
The panchayat and rural development department has been entrusted to look after areas in Terai and Dooars where tea gardens have been lying vacant or unused. Subrata Mukherjee,minister in charge of panchayat and rural development,today said that in Jalpaiguri alone,there are 15,000 acres of tea gardens lying unused.
The workers are deprived of their rights,he said. If a survey is conducted,then we will be able to identify the tea workers who were debarred from these rights, Mukherjee said. Although they get the voting rights,they are unable to avail themselves of all the benefits under the panchayat department.
Around Rs 3 crore will be allocated for the survey,he added.
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