Gudalur, Tamil Nadu. December 17, 2006
Thousands of workers and small tea growers, among them a large number of women, from Gudallur, Nilgiris, Valparai, Wayanadu and Peermade marched along the streets of Gudallur chanting slogans demanding higher wages for workers and better prices for small tea growers. The rally was inaugurated by Samir Roy, Secretary, HMS. Besides trade union
and small grower leaders from the region, Ashok Ghosh, national Secretary, UTUC;; Vazhoor Soman, All India Plantation Workers’ Federation; Biplab Shaw, United Forum of Small Tea Growers’ Association of West Bengal, West Bengal; Nara Kumar Gogoi, All Assam Small Tea Growers Association, Assam; Satyajit Bordoloi Assam Small Tea Growers Cooperative, Society, Dibrugarh, Assam; Alex Kozhimala, All Kerala Small Tea Growers Association, Peermedu, Kerala were among those lead the march.
The rally culminated at Morning Star School grounds, Gudalur, where various trade union leaders, small grower representtives and the Ooty MLA addressed the gathering. Among others, the assembly was addressed by Shri Gopalan, MLA, Ootty; Suresh, CITU; Ashok Ghosh, UTUC; Samir Roy, HMS; P T John, NTUI; Vazhoor Soman, AITUC; S. Manikkam, Plantation Labour Association, HMS, Alex Kozhimala, All Kerala Small Tea Growers Association; Satyajit Bordoloi, All Assam Small Tea Producers Cooperative Society; Partha Pratim Paul, United Forum of Small Tea Growers, West Bengal; J John, Executive Director, Centre for Education & Communication, New Delhi; M S Selvaraj, Vivasaya Thozhilalar Munnetra Sangam (VTMS), Gudalur; Dravidamani, Integral Plantation Workers Union; K M A Subrahmaniam, Plantation Workers Union Congress and S Balan, Nilgiri District Estate Workers Union.
Messages received from Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India and Shri Ramachandran, Minister, Khadi and Village Industries, Government of Tamil Nadu were read out by the Chairperson of the assembly, J B S Subrahmaniam.
Trade Unions and Small Tea Grower organizations signed the action plan and memorandum of demands.