TE owners yet to receive State Govt intimation on rations
Till date the Department of Food and Civil Supplies has neither officially confirmed discontinuation of the supply of subsidised rations, nor continuation of the allocation to tea garden workers from January, 2015. This has kept the garden owners in a confused state as to whether they would get rice and flour according to the earlier APL rates to distribute among the workers.
Though the Food and Civil Supplies Department sends official intimations by the 15th or 20th of every month to the tea garden owners about the supply of the next month’s subsidised rations, it has not made any official correspondence to the owners or their organisations till December 24, said several tea garden owners of upper Assam.
As the department has refrained from sharing the Government’s final decision regarding subsidised foodstuff for tea garden workers with the tea industry managements, the planters have not been able to come to a conclusion on the issue.
“We receive the Government’s official letter by the 15th of every month for the next month’s allocation of subsidised rations. This had happened till November this year. But we have not received any such official intimidation now,” said Raj Barooah, chairperson of the Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA).
It may be mentioned here that 185 member gardens of the ATPA got around 12,000 quintals of rice and flour every month under the APL (above poverty line) quota from the State Food and Civil Supplies Department.
Expressing concern over the department’s pending intimation (for the allocation of foodstuff for January, 2015) to the organisations and planters, several other tea garden owners said that no earlier government document mentioned any specific time for the discontinuation of the supply of APL rice and flour to garden workers “though it was reported by the media quoting State Industry Minister Pradyut Bordoloi.”
A year ago, the only official letter (No. FSA 81/2009/861) on ‘sub-allocation of foodgrains,’ issued on December 23, 2013 by the department to the organisations of garden owners, stated that the allocation would be stopped “in view of the implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013.” The department, however, conspicuously refrained from mentioning any specific date to stop the supply of such subsidised foodstuff to tea gardens. Moreover, the letter did not mention any date for implementing the Food Security Act in the State gardens.
As the Government is yet to inform the tea planters about the decision regarding the provision of subsidised APL foodstuff in the coming month, the planters have requested the department concerned to inform the matter officially soon as a few days are left for the distribution of foodstuff in the gardens in January.