The Assam government on Friday decided to hike wages of tea garden workers by Rs 38 and this will be effective from February 23 of this calendar year.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, held a meeting with representatives of Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha and other tea bodies to discuss issues pertaining of wage fixation and it was decided to hike the daily wage of tea workers by Rs 38.

“With this hike, the tea workers in Brahmaputra valley would get Rs 205 from the existing Rs 167 and tea workers of Barak valley would get Rs 183 from the existing Rs 145”, Sarma said.

The previous BJP-led alliance government of former chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in its last cabinet meeting in February this year had hiked the daily wage to Rs 217, but the garden owners approached the Gauhati High Court and the decision could not be implemented.

“Since February 23 decision by the government to raise the daily wages of the tea garden workers and the subsequent court order, we considered it crucial to find a special solution, in the interim. Today, we have made a headway on that”, Sarma said.

The chief minister further said that true to the “government’s commitment and for the welfare of the tea garden workers, we will raise the remaining Rs 12 after initiating consultation with stake holders and we are confident that an acceptable solution will be found out very soon”.

The meeting was attended by Minister Industries and Commerce Chandra Mohan Patowary, Minister for Tea Tribe Welfare Sanjay Kisan, MP Pallab Lochan Das, MLA Rupesh Gowala, President Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha Paban Singh Ghatowar and senior officials of the state government.

The hike in daily wage of tea garden workers was a major campaign issue in the just concluded Assam assembly elections with the opposition Congress promising to increase it to Rs 365, if the party was voted to power.

Tea tribes constitute 17 per cent of Assam population and 35 per cent of its electorate. PTI