Fearing Loss of Jobs, Tea Garden Workers Up in Arms Against Proposed Airport in Assam’s Barak Valley
The proposed Greenfield Airport in Assam’s Barak Valley has stumbled upon a roadblock as protesting workers of the Dolu tea estate of Cachar fear the move will lead to job loss and have shown no signs of relenting despite repeated attempts to pacify them.
The demarcation of the 325-hectare land for the proposed Dolu Greenfield Airport has been impeded several times due to massive resistance by the 1,700-odd workers of the garden. The administration of the district and police force, armed with anti-riot reinforcement, has made several visits to the garden but to no avail.
“We are trying to remove this airport from our area for the last two to three months. There will be havoc if the airport comes up here. The poor shall perish completely and the administration visits only to pressure us. When the government says ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas’, then don’t we fall in the ‘sab’ bracket? We are poor and don’t understand much about the Memorandum of Understanding but one thing is for sure — we are not andolankari,” says Satyam Sautal, a worker at the tea estate.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Dolu Tea Company Private Limited, various trade unions representing the tea garden workers and the district administration at the office of the Cachar deputy commissioner to set up a Greenfield airport in the tea estate.