Two labourers die in closed tea gardens in Bengal

West Bengal,November 23: Two laboureres, both in their sixties, died today at two closed tea gardens in North Bengal, a police officer said.

The deaths occurred at Nageshwari tea garden and Bagrakote tea garden, both of which have been closed for nine months, and the cause was attributed to illness, the officer said.

Sukra Manki Munda (65) died at Nageshwari tea garden this morning. Family members said he had been sick for a while and had died of malnutrition and lack of treatment.

Another labourer, Sibu Pradhan (66) also died at Bagrakote tea garden today. He too had been ill for several months and was suffering from malnutrition, his family members said.

The Joint Forum of Labour Unions of the tea gardens said both the gardens belonged to the Duncan group. All the 16 tea gardens of the group in North Bengal had been closed for the last nine months, they said.

A spokesman said there was no water and electricity in the closed gardens and the labourers had no money to buy food or medicine.

He blamed the state government of being indifferent to the plight of the workers.

The district administration, however, claimed that they were supplying rice to the workers at Rs 2 per kg.

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