Move to press state for cinchona revitalisation

Statesman News Service
KALIMPONG, Dec. 20. — In a move to pressurise the state for revitalisation of the Cinchona directorate as well as to avert “privatisation”, the United Forum will approach chief minister Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and state commerce and industries minister Mr Nirupam Sen on this matter.
This was decided in a meeting of the forum held at the Mungpoo Plantations on Saturday.
“The deliberation is expected to take place on the third week of January”, secretary of the forum, Mr Pravin Gurung said.
The points to be discussed will be — opposition of privatisation cases of substitute work (Badli Kam) and wages of the labourers in accordance to the Minimum Wages Act.
“Privatisation, at this juncture, will be an unwanted move. The plantation is already rich but it is only due to lack of proper administration and rampant corruption that has amounted to the present state of the plantation”, Mr Gurung alleged.
However, an area of about 100 acres has already been sold to the NHPC, who are coming up with a project at Mungpoo.
The forum has already approached the ADM and DM, Darjeeling (who is also the acting director of the directorate) regarding ‘Badli Kam’.
“The names for substitute cases were already filed in August. But its amazing why it is taking so long.
We will also discuss this”, Mr Gurung said relating other problems in the plantations like lack of doctors, medicines and proper housing facilities.
Stringent measures such as the Darjeeling bandh on 26 February and a road blockade at the Coronation on 15 March is in the resolution passed by the forum in its meeting attended by its president, Mr LM Sharma, vice-president Mr Shekar Rai, other central committee members and zonal secretaries from all the four plantations.
“If discussion fail to produce positive results, then we will continue with our agitation”, Mr Gurung added.


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