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West Bengal: 54,000 workers from Duncans gardens file 'claims' worth Rs 1,538 crore

By Our Representative 

A West Bengal labour rights organisation has said that with the Duncans Industries Limited, on reportedly going bankrupt, has put the future of 54,250 workers of the nine tea gardens in “doldrums”, claiming, whopping Rs 1,538 crore would need to be paid as workers’ dues, which include wages, fringe benefits, over-time, extra leaf payment, rations and gratuity and provident fund.
The Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS), in a statement said, it had filed a case in the Supreme Court for the dues of 29 gardens, including seven former Duncans gardens. But on making enquiries it found that the “Duncans Industries Limited has gone into bankruptcy”, and the "Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process was started against them on March 5, 2020 in the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).”
“By this process, all creditors of the company are to file their claims and the NCLT will approve a plan by which the amounts owed to them will be paid back, either by liquidating Duncans’ assets or by finding a new owner”, it added.
Taking up the matter on behalf of the workers, said PBKMS, one of its members was made to file a claim with the “Resolution Professional (RP) appointed by the NCLT on behalf of 124 workers in April 2021.”
While the RP rejected the claims stating that the workers are late in filing their claims, it said, the NCLT Kolkata bench, which accepted their plea, theoretically accepted the workers’ claims, and on June 15, 2021, the Court directed the workers to submit their claims with appropriate documents to the Resolution Professional by June 30, 2021.
“Now claims have been submitted for 54,250 workers on the basis of list of workers provided to PBKMS by the Provident Fund Commissioner’s office at Jalpaiguri”, the statement said.
The gardens for which claims have been filed are Lankapara, Gairganda, Hantapara, Dumchipara, Tulsipara and Birpara in Alipurduar District. In Jalpaiguri, claims have been filed for Nageswari, Killcote and Bagracote.

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