west bengal

West Bengal Tea Planters Appeal to Workers to Accept Wage Compromise

WEST BENGAL, India A three-day strike last week by more than 400,000 tea workers from Darjeeling to the Dooars and Terai tea growing regions halted production at hundreds of tea gardens leading to a loss in volume and quality according to planters. The region is “in no position to bear any further disruptions,” according...

Interim Wage Hike Quiets Assam but Darjeeling Remains Unsettled

The government of Assam just awarded tea workers wage increases of INRs30 ($0.45) per day through 2019 as an interim step in the ongoing negotiations to achieve wage parity in the Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. Meanwhile in West Bengal tensions are rising with the announcement of a three-day strike late this month. Tea...

Darjeeling First Flush Experiencing Jittery Start

DARJEELING, West Bengal The arrival of West Bengal’s chief minister for a two-day business development summit signals a strong desire to expand opportunities locally. But Minister Mamata Banerjee’s arrival comes amid heightened anxiety in the Darjeeling Hills as tea workers complain about conditions there. The first flush harvest, critical to the financial health of...

Tea Sensory Workshop in Darjeeling

Seeking to educate and empower the next generation of tea professionals, Gorkha growers are organizing a certified tea sommelier and tea sensory training workshop in Darjeeling. The week-long training sessions, timed to the first-flush harvest, begins Sunday, Apr. 29 through Saturday May 5, 2018 at Gomtee Tea Garden and Margarets Hope Tea Garden in...

Darjeeling Wrecked or Reborn?

The 105-day strike in the hills of Darjeeling dealt a body blow to the tea industry. Disenchanted workers, few of whom reported for work immediately following the end of the strike, will prolong recovery. DARJEELING, West Bengal, India Tea workers are gradually returning to their jobs in the Darjeeling hills following a national holiday,...

3 Darjeeling Tea Gardens Reopen

DARJEELING, West Bengal Three of the 87 gardens idled by a strike and street protests since June 18 reopened Monday. The strike involves 85,000 tea workers. At Goodricke Group’s Springside Tea Estate 70 of the 250 employed at the garden reported for work. Several local schools also opened. Some stores in downtown Darjeeling were...

Darjeeling Strike Continues as Gorkha Split Over Decision to End Confrontation

DARJEELING, West Bengal An agreement to temporarily suspend an indefinite shutdown during talks with West Bengal’s government has split leaders of the Gorkha movement who say they are determined to achieve statehood and will discuss nothing short of that goal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee last week welcomed Gorkha coalition leader Binay Tamang’s decision to...

Gorkha in Darjeeling Agree to Discussions Ending Tea Strike

DELHI, India On Monday Gorkha leaders of a two-month strike that has shut down the tea industry in Darjeeling showed the first signs of reducing tensions by agreeing to talks scheduled for Aug. 29 in Nabanna. Kalyan Dewan, a leader of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and head of the co-ordination committee representing striking...

Talks May Quiet Darjeeling Unrest

Talks with organizers of a Darjeeling uprising that has halted tea production in Darjeeling since June 15 may begin soon. Government officials are now open to meeting with a coordinating committee representing several Gorkha groups seeking statehood. Mamata Banerjee, chief minister in West Bengal, previously refused to meet until the strike, nearing two months,...

India Cash Crisis

The well-intentioned effort to curb corruption by enforcing traceability is wreaking havoc in the tea lands of India, where very few workers have bank accounts. The government’s surprise move to no longer accept denominations of 500 and 1000 as legal tender has disrupted the country’s entire economy. The decision voided $250 billion in currency,...