Fri, 01 Dec 2023

Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], October 1 (ANI): Tearing into the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Sunday accused it of not fulfilling its promises to the tea garden workers of the state, saying that though the state seems to have enough in its coffers when it comes to raising the monthly salaries of MLAs it doesn't have enough to pay the tea garden workers their "hard-earned money".

Launching a scathing attack on the West Bengal chief minister on a visit to Siliguri district on Sunday, the Union Minister said, "It's unfortunate that Mamata Banerjee raises the salaries of the MLAs but does not have enough in the coffers to pay the tea garden workers their hard-earned money.""The tea garden workers have launched a movement to rightfully claim their due. For years, the Trinamool government duped the tea workers with false promises- be it increasing the daily wage for their skilled labour, promising to build houses for them or giving them land deeds," Irani told reporters.

The Union minister claimed further that the tea workers were even being denied their Provident Fund money. "Approximately 80 FIRs have been filed from the area since the management (of tea estates) stopped giving PF money to the tea garden workers," she said, adding, "The TMC has left every section of the society disillusioned and upset. The coming together of all tea garden workers to claim their dues represents a challenge for the TMC government going forward," Irani added.

Speaking at the'Shram Daan' event in Siliguri as part of the 'Swachhata Abhiyaan' campaign being observed across the country, the Union Minister also took a dig at the TMC over its scheduled protest against the Centre in the national capital, over the alleged denial of funds for paying wages of MGNREGA workers, saying that the only reason why the leaders of the ruling party have landed in Delhi is because their "cut-money" supply has been stopped.

"They have landed in Delhi as their cut money supply has been stopped. They have turned a blind eye to the plight of Bengal tea garden workers," she added.

On the TMC allying with the Congress in the INDIA bloc to take on the BJP at the Centre, Irani said, "They partnered with the Congress before, during the UPA years, but it didn't result in any tangible development in Bengal. Her party is in power now but nothing has changed on the ground in the state. Neither does she work for development nor does her party ally with the progressive Narendra Modi government in the interest of public welfare and well-being."Weighing in on the alleged housing 'scam' in West Bengal, the Union Minister said, "We should look at the money being unearthed by the agencies from the house that TMC constructed for itself. Why are the poor in West Bengal not getting proper houses built under a government dedicated to the service of Maa, Mati, Manush (Bengal and its people)? Why are they not speaking about the scams in the (PM) Awas Yojana?" (ANI)

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