Labourers volunteer to help tea company fight off lockdown

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Thousands of labourers of all the 10 tea estates of Andrew Yule & Company Limited, a Govt of India enterprise, today gave ‘Shramdan’ on a Sunday to fight off the losses the company incurred during the ongoing lockdown.

In this unique display of co-partnership due to this national emergency, the labourers voluntarily came forward and informed the management their intention to work free of cost to save the tea company as the tea industry has faced heavy losses due to the month-long lockdown.

This is for the first time the labourers of the entire company had volunteered “Shramdan” in Assam. A similar set of example was set by nearby Dikom Tea Estate where the labourers worked during the Bihu holidays.  The total number of tea labourers which gave ‘Shramdan’ would be roughly 4200 as all the gardens are working in 50% workforce as per the stipulated guideline of the Central Government.

Andrew Yule & Company Limited is a 157 years old multidivisional public sector conglomerate under the Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprise, Govt. Of India. Their gardens are Basmatia, Desam, Tinkong, Rajgarh, Khowang, Hingrijan, Bhamun, Hoolungoorie, Murphulani and Bogijan

The management heartily acknowledges this goodwill gesture from its employees who are the backbone and greatest asset of the industry.

While thankfully acknowledging the goodwill gesture of ‘Shramdan” by the entire workforce, Mr Chandan Bora, who is the Head of Tea Business of the group at Kolkata has commented that “ over the years we have been able to establish a very congenial working atmosphere across our plantations inculcating a sense of belongingness & security amongst the workers.

“This feeling, perhaps, was further reinforced by the garden management’s proactive action in ensuring health, hygiene & safety of its employees during COVID-19 pandemic by following guidelines and SOPs laid down by the State. Most of our tea estate hospitals have been empanelled under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana(AB PM-JAY) which has been classified as Category I Covid Care Center”, he said

Following Directives during Covid-19 Pandemic, strict safety protocols has been put in place in the estates of Andrew Yule ensuring the safety of the employees with authorities permitting the resumption of operations from 11th April’ 20  with limited workforce. Use of masks, maintaining social distancing & routine handwashing has been the highlight besides proactive awareness campaign by the estate managements during the lockdown.

It is worth mentioning here that during Lockdown and post resumption of work, the wellbeing of the workforce in the estate have been emphasized by the way of imparting training through awareness campaigns and providing their dues on time, said Mr Bora.

The Assam Tea Industry has lost as many as Rs. 1218 crores due to lockdown. According to a study by the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA), the Assam Tea industry has lost about 80 million kgs of crops due to the lockdown imposed in view of the outbreak of Coronavirus across the country.

It may be mentioned here that after an unproductive off-season gap of almost three months, the new tea season had barely started around the second week of March but the tea gardens across the State had to close down from 22nd March due to COVID-19 related issues and the subsequent National lockdown.

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