Local CPM Trying To Shield Lohar

Dalgaon (Beerpara), Nov 7: | Updated: Nov 8 2003, 05:30am hrs
The killing of 19 people does not seem to have had any impact on the zonal committee of CPM. Tarakeswar Lohar, the alleged don that controlled the Dalgaon Tea Estate, was an active member of the committee.

CPM zonal committee secretary Robin Rai told this paper that Lohar was active in disciplining the workforce and had launched a campaign against consumption of alcohol during working hours, which made him unpopular with a section of the workers. Mr Rai denied allegations that Lohar was instrumental in recruiting outsiders depriving locals with the connivance of the managment. u

Recruitment is the sole discretion of the management and Lohar had no hand in that. This time, the management had no other option but to recruit graduates from outside for senior clerical positions, he said.

However, the head of the CPI(M)-controlled Dalgaon Panchayat, Ms Imilia Baruan, has a different story to tell.

Lohar and his group of anti-social elements used to control the entire affair of the Dalgaon Tea Estate with the connivance of the management. The wokers were entitled to a daily wages of Rs 45 for eight hours of work, which added up to a monthly payment of Rs 1,170 for 26 working days. But not a single worker could draw more than Rs 750 a month. The remaining amount was deducted at the office by Lohar and his men in the name of security money, she said.

The money thus extorted gave him an extravagant lifestyle.How could Lohar being just a sub-staff in the estate earning a monthly salary of just Rs 2,000, own mobile phones, Maruti cars and a number of buses, Mr Baruan said.