Tea workers against special economic zone in Habiganj
Around 15,000 workers from four tea gardens in Chunarughat upazila of Habiganj district continued strike for the second day yesterday, demanding cancellation of the plan to set up special economic zone (SEZ).
Tea garden workers from Chandpur Tea Garden, Begum Khan Tea Garden, Jual Bhanga Tea Garden and Ram Ganga Tea Garden went on work abstention on Monday. They also threatened to stage a hunger strike to press the demand.
The government has decided to develop five SEZs on 512 acres of land across the country under its Economic Zones Development Project to attract both foreign and domestic investments. One of the SEZs will be in Chandpur area of Chunarughat upazila.
“We have asked for compensation for our losses but haven't received any commitment from the government. So we decided to go for strike to get our issues resolved,” said Sadhon Santal, president of Chandpur tea garden unit of Tea Labour Union.
"Once the project is implemented, the workers will lose their farmlands and houses," Swapon Santal, advisor of the tea labour union central unit, told this correspondent.
He added that 23 tea gardens in Habiganj district will be united on a single platform to start indefinite strike from December 17 for protecting the rights of workers.
Contacted, Chunarughat upazila parishad chairman and AL upazila general secretary Abu Taher termed the work abstention by the tea garden workers illegal.
Police have been deployed in the area to avert any untoward incident, said Amulya Kumar Chowdhury, officer-in-charge of Chunarughat Police Station.