ibnlive » India

Mar 01, 2012 at 10:22pm IST

Assam: Panel to look into tea garden hunger death

Silchar: Just weeks after CNN-IBN exposed starvation deaths at a tea garden in Silchar, the Assam government has acted. The government has appointed a one-man inquiry committee to look into the tea estate deaths in Cachar district.

The inquiry is to be headed by the additional chief secretary.

Four people died as a result of hunger in Silchar as the tea garden in question remained closed for four months.

Work in the garden came to a halt in October 2011 and the workers had to shift to just one meal a day to survive.

Many workers in the tea garden have lost their lives because of inability to buy food or inability to buy medicine but the state government earlier insisted that none of these deaths were due to starvation.

Barak Human Rights Committee said there have been at least 10 hunger deaths, while the Congress affiliated labour union said four.

On February 7, in an open meeting, the garden was declared open on promises, Rs 24 lakh would be paid to clear due wages and also provident funds, but not one word uttered on the hunger deaths.

Even with wages that are lower than the minimum wage, workers went back to the tea garden when it reopened on February 8.

Nearly 1000 workers were made to work at low wages ranging between Rs 40 to Rs 50 a day without non-wage benefits.

With no food, no certain job and now no provident fund money either, workers are in a desperate situation.