Assam: Tea garden in Margherita sealed for evading taxes

Assam: Tea garden in Margherita sealed for evading taxes

The Segunbari Tea Estate in Assam's Margherita was seized today by the local municipal body over evading taxes for last few years. 

Locks were put up at the tea garden factory today by the Margherita Municipal Corporation for not paying property tax worth Rs 5 lakhs for several years now. 

The tea garden was seized by the authorities after tax was not paid inspite of repeated notices served to the management. 

"They had not paid us property tax. Property tax had been enforced since 2018. Several notices were sent, but there were no replies. They also never stated the reason for not paying taxes. We sent a final notice on January 31 stating that if no reply comes within the stipulated time period then the factory would be sealed. They have to pay up Rs 5 lakhs. Ten days have passed and the factory has been sealed," said a municipal body official. 

Noteworthy is that this is not the first time that the Segunbari Tea Estate has come under trouble. Back in 2022, police had conducted raids at this tea estate. The raid had come after the tea garden authorities had not allegedly provident fund, medical benefits, and ration benefits to the company's staff and casual workers. 

At a time when the Assam tea industry celebrated 200 years of its existence just last month, instances like these are putting a question mark on the functioning of tea gardens in Assam. For an industry that produces the bulk of India's tea output, such instances are raising questions over the functioning and management of tea gardens that serve as livelihood to scores of people.