Emboldened by the Kannan Devan success story in Kerala, Tata Tea Ltd said the company does not see any hurdle in the participation of its employees and workers of Assam and West Bengal tea gardens in the equity of the Amalgamated Plantations Private Ltd, which is being formed following reconstitution of its present division North India Plantation Operations.
Percy Siganporia, managing director of TTL, told mediapersons that he was very positive about the participation of employees and workers of NIPO in the equity of the Amalgamated Plantations Private Ltd.
In Kannan Devan Hills Plantations Ltd in Kerala, the workers' participation in the equity of the company far exceeded its initial expectation and almost 97 per cent of them participated.
Siganporia based his optimism on the encouraging response the company received from the employees and workers of Assam gardens and complimented the two unions - Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha and Assam Chah Karmachari Sangha - for taking initiative in this regard.
These two unions controlled the majority of 20,000 workers employed in 20 tea gardens the company has in Assam. In West Bengal, the unions neither supported
However, the unions have been generally supportive of the plan to develop revenue streams beyond tea to enhance long-term sustainability and trigger social transformation across the area, Siganporia said.
In West Bengal, the Citu-affiliated Chah Bagan Mazdoor Union controlled the majority of 10,000 workers employed in four tea estates the company has in the state.
The second major union is INTUC-affiliated National Union of Plantation Workers. Also, there are two other unions - West Bengal Tea Garden Employees Association controlling the staff members and West Bengal Chah Mazdoor Sabha.
Giving an indication of the probable equity pattern of the Amalgamated Plantations Private Ltd, he said TTL's holding might be between 18 and 20 per cent, almost similar to TTL's equity holding in Kannan Devan.
To the extent of the employees and workers participation, the equity holding of the Tata Investment Corporation would be adjusted.
IFC, Washington, a World Bank affiliate, and IL&FS will hold 20 per cent each and GMS another 12 to 13 per cent. The size of the equity of the new company would vary between Rs 150 and 175 crore and shares are being offered at a par value which is Rs 10 each.