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Top Story: Shocking Conditions for Workers on India’s Tea Plantations Revealed

Shocking Conditions for Workers on India’s Tea Plantations Revealed.

Decrepit houses, low wages and widespread malnutrition are just some of the indignities faced

As one of the world’s most popular beverages (reportedly second only to
water), the production of tea is immensely important. But the living conditions
of many tea-plantation workers in India — the world’s second largest producer of
the drink — are not given nearly as much importance, an investigation by the BBC
has revealed.

The investigation, conducted jointly with Radio 4’s File on Four in
India’s northeastern state of Assam, revealed leaking, decrepit living quarters
sorely lacking in basic hygiene and sanitation. Drains are left open and
cesspits flood into living areas.

The workers, who help supply to massive international brands like Tetleys,
Lipton, Twinings and PG Tips, are paid about $1.50 a day — far lower than
India’s already low minimum wage — with many malnourished and prone to diseases
as a result of their squalid existence. The BBC also found workers spraying
hazardous chemicals without using protective gear, and said that child labor was
being used on some estates.

Sandip Ghosh, head of the Indian Tea Association’s Assam branch, told the BBC
that conditions were not acceptable. “These issues need to be addressed,” he

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