Tourists visiting Darjeeling may miss out on the warmth of a cup of the famous local tea served at the popular eatery Glenary’s. The owner of the establishment, Ajoy Edwards, has decided to take Darjeeling tea off the menu. The reason, he says, is that tea garden workers are not being provided the Durga Puja bonus at one go.
“They are supposed to get the bonus of 20 per cent in a split way, 15 per cent before Durga Puja and 5 per cent before Diwali. This is not done,” he said. “Every year it’s the same drama. So this time we have taken a stand and we are standing by the workers. In our 110-year history, this is the first time that we have stopped selling tea.”
Ajoy Edwards is also the president of the Hamro Party and an elected member of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Sabha.
His party, which started its political journey in 2021 under his leadership, has won the Darjeeling hill municipal elections, where it won 12 seats of the total 32. The outfit has a significant influence in the hills of West Bengal.
“Will stop drinking and selling #darjeelingtea till they give 20% bonus at one time, to the poorest of the poor in our society, our tea garden workers, because Darjeeling tea is #BloodTea,” Ajoy wrote in a Facebook post last week.
It was decided in a tripartite meeting that the bonus will be given in a split format, but now one section of the workers will hit the road on the issue.
Sources say on Tuesday, Hamro Party along with workers will march in protest in Darjeeling. Sources say Ajoy’s outfit is trying to organise a movement through this.
Udayan Guha, North Bengal Development Minister, said, “This movement is unnecessarily being brought out. The bonus will be given but in two parts.”
The tea garden owners too consider the demand baseless. Everywhere a bonus is given in this way, claim many.