Kolkata: The commerce ministry on Tuesday reviewed the status of the closed and sick tea gardens of West Bengal and the extension of welfare schemes to tea garden workers, a senior official said.

“We have reviewed the status of the tea gardens with all the stakeholders and discussed with the state chief secretary, labour and industry secretaries with some of the issues pertaining to the tea estate and plantations,” Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia told reporters after the launch of pan India electronic auction system of tea here.

To a query on the plight of plantation workers, she said: “I don’t think there is a reason for any particular alarm bell to be sounded. Plantations in some of the tea estate are in the stress and others are doing better.”

She said the benefits of the universal schemes should be extended the workers of tea gardens, and ministry officials reviewed the implementation of the welfare schemes applied to plantation areas.

Officials also reviewed the scheme of FAWLOI (Financial Assistance to the Workers in Locked Out Industrial Units) and other welfare schemes, an official statement said.

The central and state government officials also discussed the process of renewal of tea garden land leases, and the state government instructed district authorities to start the process of renewal, it said.

“A revival package for the sick and stressed tea gardens of morth Bengal shall soon be finalised and shall be forwarded to the central government so that a complete package can be finalised,” said a statement issued by the Tea Board.

It was suggested that the scheme could be revisited so that the workers of the stressed gardens can be included in the said scheme, it said.

Also discussed was the issue of closed tea gardens of Duncan Industries and also on the Siliguri tea park and modern tea park in Falta.

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