"We are starting SPANDAN public charitable trust since 2015,then the time we are moving to help tea garden poor people.Has been there but some financial issue of our charitable trust in last year. this is reason for helping money all of you .
So,please help to get their food , medicine ,and shelter ."
Behind The Beautiful Tea Gardens Of India Lies This Invisible, Ugly Truth
A tea picker collects tea leaves at a tea estate at Naxalbari in the north eastern state of West Bengal, September 3, 2004. Tea exports had plummeted from 200 million kg in 2002 to 180 million kg last year. The slump in prices and exports was largely attributed to inferior quality of tea being produced by various Indian gardens, besides the loss of Pakistan and Iraq as potential buyers. The Indian tea industry had projected an estimated production of about 850 million kilograms this year.
Women pluck leaves at a tea garden in Darjeeling. Source: Reuters
What every exquisite cup of tea fails to narrate is the plight and agony of those workers who have been heavily exploited and marginalized for generations. Beyond the romanticised notions of the beautiful hills and tea estates, the “the two leaves and a bud”, and the “cheerful faces of its people”, what remains invisible is the ugly truth of sub-human wages and living conditions, denial of basic rights of workers, more than a thousand starvation deaths and seething anger.
Once again the Hills, Terai and Dooars of Gorkhaland are gripped in seething angst when they are forced to witness the misery of its own people in the form of hunger and starvation deaths. It is outrageous to see the workers of a multi-million industry (tea plantation) dying a slow and painful death due to hunger and starvation. Most deaths are occurring in tea gardens that are owned by the rich corporate houses of Britain and India. Only recently, from April, 2015 till date, 70 workers died due to chronic hunger and starvation in this region.
Every tea garden you would visit in free India echoes the cries of labourers who have been bonded and forced to work on paltry wages. Among many such are the tea gardens of Darjeeling and Dooars whose scenic beauty and unparalleled flavour of tea have gained world reputation, whereas the state of the livelihoods of workers (especially tea-garden labourers) suffering perennial misery and insecurity remain unheard and ignored. The region has remained in grip of the predatory claws of imperialism and colonization which has obscenely exploited its resources, both natural and human in the worst forms. It would be erroneous to estimate the scale of this open loot by factoring in only monetary losses in the form of wages and incomes. In fact, the ramifications of the denial of the same has spilled out to cause starvation (in many cases amounting to death), malnourishment of children, denial of proper education, health care, sanitation and housing, erosion of self-confidence, forced migration for work, sex slavery and human trafficking in the most hazardous industries.
What Is Promised And What They Get
Workers have witnessed rampant flouting of labour laws which has made a brazen mockery of their rights. According to law, each tea garden worker must receive, apart from their daily wages, provident fund payments, bonuses, pension (for retired workers), ration, umbrellas and aprons for working, firewood for cooking, housing, electricity, water, medical care and education facilities. The last time the workers got ration in Dhumchipara was in 2011. In Dhumchipara Tea estate in Dooars, a poor woman having two children has been reduced almost to a skeleton due to starvation. These children who have been becoming immobile due to chronic hunger and poor health require at least 750 ml of blood which their family cannot afford. Doctors say, “They may not live long.” Such cases of starvation induced illnesses and death in the tea-gardens of Darjeeling and Dooars are too numerous to quote here.
The irony of this situation is lies in the presence of stark poverty, chronic hunger and exploitation alongside the colossal profits these tea-gardens generate for the owners and the State. According to an estimate by the Darjeeling Chamber of Commerce, tea industry in the hills generates an average revenue of Rs. 450 crore