TEA GARDEN CRIME WATCH: Garden abandoned after assault on manager

TEA GARDEN CRIME WATCH: Garden abandoned after assault on manager – all over illegal firewood, nature’s bounty ?!!

Mrityunjoy Chowdhury in a Siliguri nursing home - what a dastardly deed, desperation rules ?!! (Kundan Yolmo)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Jaigaon, Aug. 10: The management of Dim Dima Tea Estate at Birpara in the Dooars abandoned the garden late last night after an assistant manager was stabbed allegedly by a worker in the morning.

Police arrested Bikram Oraon against whom the management had filed an FIR. Bikram was produced in an Alipurduar court today and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.

The police said assistant manager Mrityunjoy Chowdhury had been struck on the head and stabbed on the arms by Bikram. Chowdhury had protested when he spotted Bikram transporting illegal firewood through the garden. Chowdhury was first taken to the army hospital in Binnaguri but was later shifted to a private nursing home in Siliguri at night.

Manager S.S. Dhillon said they had left the garden because of the feeling of insecurity. “We were forced to leave and sent a suspension of work notice to the garden today. Since there was a transport strike, the notice could not be served on time,” Dhillon said.

Rabin Rai of the Citu-affiliated Cha Bagan Majdoor Union said all trade union leaders irrespective of party affiliations held a peace meeting in the garden today and appealed to workers to maintain normality. “We have also lodged a complaint with the Birpara police station and the assistant labour commissioner about the management abandoning the garden,” Rai said. The assistant labour commissioner of Birpara, Amiya Das, said the management had not yet contacted him.

The Dooars Branch of the Indian Tea Association, of which Dim Dima is a member, did not comment on the suspension of work notice. Instead, association secretary Prabir Bhattacharya said: “Work culture must be maintained in all gardens. It cannot be that there will be no discipline among workers.”

MEANWHILE

HEALTH WATCH: 3 garden kids die of poisoning – going from bad to worse ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, Aug. 10: Three children died from suspected poisoning at the Naxalbari Tea Estate this evening.

Two teenaged girls — one of them was taking care of the children after they fell ill —also taken ill and are under treatment at Naxalbari Block Hospital and North Bengal Medical College Hospital.

Sources said the deceased were Hiralal, 6, his sister Karishma, 4, and Manjoy Goala, 4. Hiralal and Karishma were the children of Suresh Goala and Basanti, while Manjoy was the son of Fulkumari. The families are neighbours in the garden, 3km from here.

“The children had their lunch as usual and were fine till afternoon. Then they went to a stream flowing through the garden and returned with illness,” said Partha Nandi, the garden manager. “We rushed them to hospital but they could not survive.”

While the siblings died on way to Naxalbari Block Hospital, Manjoy breathed his last while being taken to the medical college.

The cause of illness and death, however, is yet to be known. Subir Bhowmik, the chief medical officer of health of Darjeeling district, said the three might have died because of poisoning. “It seems to be a case of suspected poisoning but something concrete can be said only after post-mortems are conducted,” he said. “On our part, we are sending a medical team to the garden tomorrow morning to ensure that other children in the area do not fall ill.”

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