Assam Tea Corporation Ltd, a state government psu is paying lower wages to its over 15,500 workers than the stipulated norm due to fund crunch, state Labour and Tea Tribes Welfare minister Pallab Lochan Das said. "The daily wages paid to those workers is Rs 115.
It is lower than the applicable wage rate as per agreement between Consultative Committee for Planters Association and Workers Union," Das said in the state Assembly. Replying to a query by BJP MLA Ashok Singhal during the Question Hour, the minister said Assam Tea Corporation Ltd (ATCL) has not adopted the applicable wage rates due to their fund crunch as reported by the company. "The total amount of outstanding payment as per information furnished by Labour Commissioner, Assam, is Rs 125,19,60,208," Das said. Also, the total dues as per information furnished by Assam Tea Employees Provident Fund Organisation on PF is Rs 168,81,12,598.16, he added. ATCL, which is an Assam government undertaking, has total employee strength of 15,508 across its tea gardens in Jorhat, Sivasagar, Nagaon, Golaghat, Sonitpur and Karimganj districts. Earlier while asking the question, Singhal said that the erstwhile Congress government did nothing in its 15 year-tenure to improve the condition of ATCL. This led to strong protest by the opposition MLAs, leading to noisy scene for some time.
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