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Dooars UPSC NOTE

 

  • The Dooars or Duars are the alluvial floodplains in eastern-northeastern India and southern Bhutan that lie south of the outer foothills of the Himalayas and north of the Brahmaputra River basin

  • The Dooars valley stretching from River Teesta on the west to River Sankosh on the east, over a span of 130 km by 40 km, forms a major part of Jalpaiguri district

  • The region forms the gateway to Bhutan.

  • It is part of the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands ecoregion

The Crisis

  • This year, marks 150 years of tea production in the Dooars area, as the first tea plantations in the region were set up in 1874, a few decades after Darjeeling

  • As per the Paschim Banga Cha Majoor Samity (PBCMS), a trade union representing tea estate workers, of the 150 big tea gardens, 18 are closed

  • The Tea Board of India statistics say that the annual production of tea from West Bengal in 2023 was 422 million kg, 54.5% of which was produced from the Dooars

  • The workers in Dooar region struggle with hunger, poor pay, and the intermittent shutting down of large tea plantations

  • The poverty is sometimes leading to death of people who are dependent on the tea plantation

  • As per the Plantations Labour Act, 1951, the tea garden management is mandated to provide for repair, which they never do, leaving workers to fend for themselves. 

  • The Act mandates that the Assistant Labour Commissioner conduct an inspection and take necessary steps for rehabilitation, but such inspections are never done.

Changes

  • Over the past 10 years, the Minimum Wages Advisory Committee on Tea for the State of West Bengal has held 20 meetings, but has not been able to reach an agreement on minimum wages.

  • The last time the wages of tea garden workers were hiked was on April 27, 2023, when the State government raised the daily wage rate from ₹232 to ₹250

  • This was challenged by various tea garden managements before the High Court.

  • With more and more big gardens either turning sick or shuttering, small growers are contributing to the bulk of the production in the tea sector.

Changes

  • This is because the governments, both at the State and Centre, are encouraging small tea growers

  • The big gardens, which employ a large number of workers, are not getting any incentives

  • The workers in small tea gardens are treated as agricultural labourers and do not have rights of wages and provident fund like big tea garden workers

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Dooars UPSC NOTE
Dooars UPSC NOTE
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