Darjeeling Tea

NO LAND FOR TEA GARDEN, CINCHONA GARDEN WORKERS – But…

I cannot help but wonder, why would the WB Govt post a quarter page ad on the front page of a leading Nepali language daily, about Parja Patta rights being given to “refugees” in Nadia, while denying the same rights to the people from Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars?

It’s because TMC knows that they will get away with murder, literally, as long as it happens in the North. They will continue to deny us our rights, for as long as we remain divided. They will keep the South appeased, as there are more MP and MLA seats in the south. They will to keep the indigenous communities of the North deprived, because they can afford to do so.

But, can we, the people from the North, afford to keep on appeasing a government that discriminates our region and people deliberately?


Harish Mukhia – A visionary

Harish Mukhia was a trailblazer, who revolutionized the Darjeeling Tea Industry, and continued to serve our region and people till his last breath. A humble grounded man, who helped all those who sought his help, and considered his wife Mani as the main inspiration behind his success This is his story.


Parliamentary Standing Committee Scathing Findings on Darjeeling and Dooars Tea Industry – Recommends Legislative Action for Ensuring Parja Patta Rights and Other Reforms

The report takes note that “the tea garden workers in Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars do not have land or ‘Parja-Patta’ (land rights) on their ancestral tea growing lands. To dwell on their ancestral homes, they must send at least one family members to work for the tea company. On failure to send a family member for work, they lose their rights to live on their ancestral lands. Since the land rights are vested with tea company, there have been instances when the aged workers having no children were denied the right to even repair their houses on their ancestral lands.”


TEA TOURISM, EXPLOITATION?

The tea garden workers despite working for generations, are still deprived of their right to land – Parja Patta, they are paid less wages than what other workers, even unskilled labourers make in West Bengal, the facilities they are entitled to are rarely provided. Adding salt to their woes, the WB Govt has allowed the tea garden owners to build commercial real-estate labeling it “tea tourism”.


DARJEELING TEA INDUSTRY: Prayers, Petitions and Pathological Indifference

Tea workers of the region are working below minimum wage, and over the years systematically all of their facilities have been stripped off. In order to support and sustain their family, they are forced to do small scale animal husbandry and horticulture. This is in addition to 12-14 hours of back-breaking labour every day.


Dazzling Darjeeling: Where Tea Grows in the Sky

When the opportunity to visit India presented itself to me, I knew right away that majestic Himalayan Darjeeling would be the top of my list, as the world-famous Darjeeling tea grows there. Darjeeling is all about tea estates covered in clouds; white mountain tops in the distance and tasty tea. If you enjoy at least an occasional cup of tea, it’s definitely worth visiting the Indian paradise of tea in West Bengal, Darjeeling! It’s the place to see how hundred-year-old tea bushes grow, how locals pluck the leaves and it gradually becomes the tea we all know.


Tea Tourism – Another form of exploitation

We welcome tea tourism policy whole heartily with the adequate enforcement of standard protocols and norms on the allocable vacant land without zero compromise in the plantation area. As specified, the prime objective of the policy is “to enhance investment for generating employment opportunities for the local community for their inclusive sustainable economic development and prosperity without any hindrance to the social-fabric and ecology.” We wish our region to flourish into prosperity however development at the verge of risks of lives, loss of property and damage to environment will not tolerated be at all.


Cup of Tea

When I wake up this morning, the thirst for drinking cuppa made me look at my kitchen-shelf and found out that my tea container was nearly empty. I thought, will ask some tea leaves from my neighbour then it occurred on my mind that they have been on home quarantine for almost a week. Since we are tackling this apocalyptic situation venturing outside just for one particular supply deemed not as essential. So reckoning, what will be of my next tea time, I prepared for now with some left-over tea leaves which I enjoyed immensely as it was my last deoch an doris.