Tea garden workers formed a human chain in front of Satgaon Union Parishad (UP) premises in Sreemangal upazila of Moulvibazar yesterday demanding justice for inclusion of well-off men’s names in the list of ultra-poor workers who would get benefit under a government scheme.
Speakers at the human chain said leaders of garden panchayet (workers union), UP members and chairman got names of solvent people, mostly ruling Awami League (AL) men and their relatives, included in the government’s aid list, depriving helpless tea workers.
Ultra poor tea workers in Srimangal upazila are getting Tk 5,000 each under a project titled ‘Cha Sramikder Jibonman Unnayon Karmasuchi’, said officials of upazila social service department.
Under the project, names of 111 workers of Gandhichhara tea garden were to be included in the list of beneficiaries prepared by local union parishad (UP) chairman, members and leaders of tea workers union.
But ultra-poor tea workers had to give bribe for the purpose while names of 43 rich people have been included in the aid list, said Nayan Chandra Nayek, who presided over the rally.
“The government is working to improve the quality of poor tea workers’ life. If the government money meant for them goes to others, how will the purpose be served?” he said.
Asked about the allegations, Chanchal Bunerjee Rinku, general secretary of panchayet of Gandichhara Tea Garden, said, “I cannot say anything about it over mobile. We have to sit somewhere for talking about it.”
Milton Shil, chairman of Satgaon UP, said, “It is not my job to make the list. Tea garden panchayet president and UP members have made it together.”
Sreemangal Upazila Nirbahi Officer Nazrul Islam said, “The assistance was meant for poor tea workers. If names are included in the list violating the rule, we will take proper action after investigation.”