Agri Business

Some Niligiris tea estates resume operations

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on March 31, 2020 Published on March 31, 2020

Doubts expressed over plantations’ Covid-19 precautionary measures

With the Agricultural Production Commissioner and Principal Secretary to Tamil Nadu Government Gagandeep Singh Bedi clarifying that “tea cultivation and all associated activities could be permitted as tea cultivation is an agricultural activity, and tea a food item and an essential commodity,” select estates in the Nilgiris resumed operations on Tuesday while a few others have indicated their intention to start from Wednesday.

And with the district administration giving the nod for processing, production and other associated activities, subject to strict compliance of norms and Covid-19 precautionary measures, the hill district saw some life after week-long silence.

Nilgiris District Collector Innocent Divya has, in passing the order, stated that minimum number of workers could be employed, subject to obtaining the individual’s consent, ensuring complete safety, providing adequate protective gear, checking medical fitness before starting work, ensuring social distancing, spraying disinfectant in labour lines, making arrangements for transportation of workers to factories, furnishing a list of transport and workers for issuance of curfew pass and having adequate sanitising points for workers from time of entry to departure after shift.

“Plantations are adhering only to the documentation part of the guidelines,” said a source, preferring anonymity, .

A cross section of industry stakeholders to whom BusinessLine spoke said they saw normalcy in daily life coming back, but also understand the risk they (both the employees and the management) are taking in venturing out.

Though at the time of filing this report workers who had reported for work could not be contacted, it is learnt that their near and dear ones are not happy with the situation.

Catch 22

“We are now at a risk of contracting the virus; obviously, when asked to report for work by the employer, we cannot bluntly refuse, especially under the present circumstance when there is so much uncertainty about the future. We are poor people and can’t afford the luxury of turning down the offer,” said one labourer over phone.

It is further learnt that the estates are only engaging those that reside in the quarters provided by the respective corporates.

Those in the know of developments aver that most plantations do not have full-time medical officers.

Published on March 31, 2020

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.