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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 28, New Delhi, June 26, 2021

54 Thousand Tea Garden Workers File Claims For Their Dues - Press Release by Paschimbanga Khetmajoor Samity

Friday 25 June 2021

Paschimbanga Khetmajoor Samity (PBKMS)

[June 25, 2021]

54 Thousand Workers From Duncans Gardens File Claims for 1538 Crores Dues With NCLT

With Duncans Industries Limited going into bankruptcy, the future of the workers of 17 gardens owned by Duncans is now in doldrums. Workers have been worried about their dues and whether they will ever receive their due wages, fringe benefits, gratuity and provident fund.

Responding to the workers’ concern, Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS) has supported workers 54250 workers to file a claim of Rs.1538,76,90,240 from nine Duncans Industries Limited gardens in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri. The claim includes arrear wages, over-time, extra leaf payment, rations, fuel wood, gratuity and provident fund.

While Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS) has already filed a case in Supreme Court for the dues of 29 gardens including 7 former Duncans gardens, on making enquiries, we found that the Duncans Industries Limited has gone into bankruptcy. The Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process was started against them on 05th March, 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.

PBKMS took the matter on urgent basis and made the workers aware of the Resolution Process against the Duncans Industries Limited. One PBKMS member then filed a claim with the Resolution Professional (RP) appointed by the NCLT on behalf of 124 workers in April 2021. The RP rejected the claims stating that the workers are late in filing their claims. The workers then approached the NCLT Kolkata bench, who accepted their plea and directed the RP to accept the claims. On 15th June 2021, the Court has directed the workers to submit their claims with appropriate documents to the Resolution Professional by 30th June 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.

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