BY TC News Desk
Agartala, 4th December 2023: A group of 53 workers at the Indian food warehouse in Dharmanagar have accused their leaders and contractors of exploiting and cheating them for years. The workers, who are all temporary and have been working since 2006, have filed a case in the Tripura High Court demanding fair pay and benefits. They claim that they are paid less than the minimum wage, have irregular attendance records, and face difficulties in accessing their provident fund money.
The workers allege that Johnny Oberoi, who got the contract to manage the workers in 2018, and Rajat Nandi, who works for Oberoi and is the leader of the workers, are involved in a nexus to siphon off the workers’ money. They say that Nandi hires new workers as per his wish, takes commission from them, and ignores the old ones. They also say that Nandi and Deepak Kumar Singh, the labour chief of Gang No. 3, manipulate the workers’ dates of birth to deprive them of their provident fund money.
The workers say that they are supposed to work from 10 am to 5:30 pm, but they often work from 8 am to 11 pm, sometimes all night, and are not paid accordingly. They say that they are paid 4 rupees and 80 paise per bag, while the daily wage is 663 taka. They also say that they have to load and unload up to 22,000 sacks daily, which affects their health and well-being.
The workers have staged protests and sit-ins from time to time, demanding their rights and dues. They have also threatened to stop the supply to the food warehouse and go on a permanent strike if their grievances are not addressed. They have sought the intervention of North District BMS General Secretary Biplab Das and President Subrata Rudra Pal, who have tried to resolve the situation. However, the workers say that Nandi has started playing the politics of division among them, and that some labour leaders are enjoying their money while the others suffer. The workers have appealed to the authorities and the public to support their cause and end their ordeal.