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Mamata flays Centre for not fulfilling promise of taking over seven tea gardens

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Siliguri | Thursday, Jul 12 2018 IST
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused the BJP of using central agencies to silence the Opposition ahead of 2019 Parliament elections in India and flayed the Centre for not fulfilling promise of taking over seven tea gardens.

"The ruling party (BJP) in the national capital has been destroying everything and every federal institution across India for its vested interests," Ms Banerjee told reporters after completing her official briefing about the situation of Tea belt in north Bengal.

Ms Banerjee, also the chairperson of the All India Trinamool Congress, has been a face of the Opposition unity across the country.

She has intensified her tirade against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government since the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in 2016 and "hasty" introduction of GST last year across the country.

"As the 2019 elections are nearing, the BJP is using the agencies to silence Opposition voices and openly indulging in political vendetta," Ms Banerjee said.

She also strongly condemned the IT raid at a hospital owned by Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav's sisters at Rewari and alleged that the BJP was using government agencies to silence opposition voices before the general election.

She announced that the government has given clearance to the wage-hike of workers and formed a committee to find a solution to the problems facing the tea industry.

She also attacked the Centre for failing to fulfill its promise of taking over seven tea gardens. The promise was made by a Union Minister during 2016 Assembly election campaign.

"We have allocated more than 1000 crore for the welfare of tea garden workers since 2011. We need a permanent solution to the problem of tea gardens. Some trade unions are calling bandhs for their vested political interests," Ms Banerjee stated.

"The Centre had promised to take over 7 tea gardens while campaigning for 2016 elections. It was a lie for garnering votes. The tea garden owners went to court, got the tea garden declared 'abandoned' and now the workers are suffering. The Centre must withdraw the notification," she said.

"Some owners open their 'abandoned' tea gardens for some days, and close down again. We have formed an expert committee under the leadership of our Chief Secretary. They will submit a report within three months," she added.

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