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Rahul Gandhi hits out at Modi, says he won’t allow PM to take farmer’s land

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Attacking the NDA government over the land bill, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said he would not allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take farmers’ land easily.

As part of his ‘padyatra‘ to highlight the problems faced by farmers, Rahul Gandhi addressed a public meeting in Obuladevara Cheruvu village and assured the farming community that Congress will stand by them.

“The PM of India is under the impression that he can take away the lands of the farmers but we will not let him take farmers’ land easily,” said Gandhi.

In an obvious reference to the government’s proposal to amend the land bill to break the impasse in parliament, Gandhi said, “We have not even shown 10 percent of the strength of farmers of India. And the PM suddenly understood that he cannot push the farmers of this country.”

“The Congress and the farmers of this country decided to show a little bit of their power to the prime minister. He changed his mind after the fight of farmers, which was fought by the Congress,” he added.

Gandhi also hit out at Modi over special status to the state on his first visit to Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation of the state and told the rally that the Congress is fully committed to special status and Polavaram project.

“The PM wanted to take away land of farmers and also the special status and Polavaram away from people of this state,” he said while alleging that the NDA government is going back on the commitment to accord special status to the state.

He also targeted Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and main opposition YSR Congress Party for not fighting for special status for the state.

“I can fully understand the intention of the prime minister. But, what I do not understand is the intention of the chief minister of this state and other party. I do not understand why these parties do not fight for special status and for Polavaram,” he said.

Accompanied by Congress state unit president Raghuveera Reddy, other leaders and a large number of party workers and supporters, Gandhi undertook a 10-km padyatra in the drought-prone district.

He kicked off his padyatra from Obuladevara Cheruvu village, where his grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi had addressed a meeting in 1979 and interacted with farmers, agricultural labourers, artisans and women’s self-help groups and enquired about their problems.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Tea Body of Assam Slam ‘Chaiwala’ Modi

The tea labourers of Assam live in the most deplorable conditions without some of the basic amenities, Gowala said

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Assam tea body slam 'chaiwala' Modi,

The largest tea body of Assam on Sunday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who often refer to himself as a “chaiwala”, for not being considerate towards the state’s tea garden workers’ plight and urged him to implement the promised minimum wage of Rs 350 before the new year starts.

The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) General Secretary Rupesh Gowala said while Modi often refers to himself as a “chaiwala”, he is yet make good on his promises towards a million tea garden labourers in the state in the last four years.

“Before the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, Modi addressed several rallies in Assam and assured that the tea garden labourers would be paid a minimum wage of Rs 350 per day,” Gowala said.

“If this happens, the 10,00,000 tea garden labourers will lose Rs 30 each day for two months. Is it a “chaiwala” Prime Minister who is doing this to his own community?” said Gowala.

The tea garden workers in Brahmaputra Valley in Assam are presently drawing Rs 167 per day while the tea garden workers in Barak Valley are getting Rs 145 per day.

“The existing wage agreement between the Assam government and the ACMS and other tea workers bodies expired on December 31, 2017.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

“The government had announced an interim hike of Rs 30 per day. The tea garden labourers are supposed to get this interim hike from January 1, 2018, but the government is saying the hike will apply from March 1, 2018.

“This would make them lose Rs 30 per day for two months,” he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Assam is yet to fix that minimum wage, Gowala said, urging Modi to announce the promised Rs 350 per day minimum wage before 2019.

Gowala said the condition of all those tea gardens run by the Assam government was far worse.

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“While the labourers in company-owned garden are receiving a wage of Rs. 167 per day now, the 26,000 workers under the 14 gardens of state-owned Assam Tea Company Limited (ATCL) are receiving a wage of Rs 115 only per day,” he said.

Assam has over 800 medium and large size tea gardens that produces over 50 per cent of the country’s total tea produce.

The tea labourers of Assam live in the most deplorable conditions without some of the basic amenities, Gowala said. (IANS)