Tea Tourism is just another form of exploitation. Our tea bushes are being uprooted, workers denied their right to parja patta and Minimum Wages Act, and whatever little money would flow into villages through homestay programs are now being diverted towards “tea tourism” which is owned by rich industrialists. What is surprising is, no politician or social worker is least bit bothered about this
Random uprooting of tea bushes for the construction of road endangering the livelihood of locals has become a matter of worrisome which should not be encouraged at all. Our region is prone to frequent landslides during heavy rainfall. We are aware of the fact, Monsoon season is yet to begin however the local resident at Rangeet tea garden are already triggered with great fear because of incessant rainfall that occurred few days back.
But, we must see the present scenario of Rangeet tea garden from a bigger perspective
Tea tourism has become yet another tool to exploit the vulnerable community residing at tea garden.
Let’s not wait and watch until and unless the scenario turns from bad to worse. The local lives of tea labours, their jobs and hard earned property should not be jeopardized at any cost. The massive uprooting of tea bushes in the name of tea tourism will definitely have an adverse effect which no doubt results in the retrenchment of labour force in the due course of time.
A life at tea garden, their job and social security must be guaranteed, ensured and prioritized.
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.
It just make me wonder why all the enforcement are blind towards such wrong practices, how and who have given them a clearance and approval is itself a big question.
Why such violation of guiding principles specified under tea tourism policy is not taken seriously by the concerned authority.
I don’t know what destiny holds for the people of tea garden in future but definitely its a terrible question seeking answers for generation after generation which need to be addressed by our electoral representatives and the intellectual section of our society.
The chapter of hundred years of dire suppression and exploitation, extraction of blood and sweat of human history must be closed with a new beginning of life with dignity.
Writes: Jatan Rai
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