Assam CM directs state officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses before Durga Puja

Guwahati (Assam) [India], October 13 (ANI): Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday in a meeting with District Collectors (DCs), and Superintendents of Police (SPs) via video conferencing in Guwahati directed the officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses at the fixed rate before Durga Puja.

In a series of tweets, the Chief Minister’s office informed that Sonowal also reviewed the preparations for giving ‘land pattas’ to 1 lakh landless indigenous families by December 2020.

“Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal reviewed the progress of various schemes in a meeting with DCs and SPs via video conferencing in Guwahati. Inter alia, preparations for giving land pattas to 1 lakh landless indigenous families by December this year was deliberated in the meeting,” the CMO tweeted.

“The Chief Minister directed officials to ensure tea garden workers receive bonuses at the fixed rate before Durga Puja and ensure that all eligible beneficiaries avail benefits of schemes like Arundhati and Orunodoi,” it said in another tweet.

Sonowal further directed the officials to give special attention to law and order situation during Durga Puja and asked them to take steps to cooperate with the public during the festival.

“Reviewing law & order situation in the districts, the CM directed officials to give special attention to the same during Durga Puja festivities. The CM directed officials to take steps to cooperate with the public in observance of Durga Puja rituals and create awareness about following #COVID19 protocols,” CMO said.

CMO added that the Chief Minister further directed the officials to take necessary steps to expedite the issuance of Aadhaar card in all districts of the state.

The week-long festivities for Durga Puja will begin from October 22. (ANI)

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Madison Square Garden extends furloughs for 1,700 workers

There’s no indication of just how long temporary will be. Despite the rest of the city reopening, performances and events have been disallowed since March. When those types of large-scale gatherings will be safe again is anyone’s guess, and the Garden’s filing shows how that prolonged uncertainty is touching even the most well-known names in the city. Madison Square Garden Entertainment Group, the Garden’s parent company, reported just $9 million in total revenue in its most recent quarterly report, a 96% decrease on the $215.2 million it brought in for the same quarter in 2019. 

Many of the city’s other venues also are in financial distress. The Metropolitan Opera House said in September that it would not reopen for at least a year, and a similar filing with the Department of Labor shows it has furloughed or laid off more than 2,000 people. Broadway’s layoffs have surpassed 1,000, and Carnegie Hall has dipped into its endowment. 

Madison Square Garden Entertainment Group owns the Beacon Theatre and Radio City Music Hall in addition to its Penn Plaza site. The extended furloughs mainly hit its Penn Plaza workforce, although they also affect 54 workers at the Beacon Theatre and 140 workers at Radio City Music Hall. 

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World Trade Center landlord Silverstein Properties turns to ghost kitchen Zuul in bid to return workers

“Food is a major concern,” Vardi said. “People are uncomfortable going between the office and outside, and ordering food still requires going down to pick it up.”

The best way to resolve those concerns is by delivering food directly to tenants’ offices, he said. But that raises issues of security and health screenings of couriers entering the building, especially within the World Trade Center.
 
That has opened an opportunity for Zuul, which operates a commercial kitchen in SoHo where established city brands such as Naya Express, Sarge’s Deli and Stone Bridge Pizza prepare smaller versions of their menus for takeout only. The food is produced from a single commercial kitchen, disconnected from any dining room, typically referred to as a ghost kitchen or cloud kitchen.

Workers can order lunch from those restaurants using a custom app for tenants. Orders must be in by 10:30 a.m. to arrive by lunch hour.

Zuul said it will rely on a small group of couriers who have been preapproved by Silverstein to ride the buildings’ freight elevators. Meals are delivered all at once to each separate office, where they can be distributed by the tenant company. The program will be offered to workers at World Trade Center properties as well as Silverstein’s other office holdings, such as 120 Broadway, Vardi said.

Pre-pandemic, Vardi said, the areas outside of office buildings included a “tsunami” of delivery couriers waiting for someone to come grab their order.

There are no such tidal waves now, at any building, as offices throughout the city are still sitting mostly unoccupied.

Safe food delivery has become part of the pitch from landlords to change that. The program is included in Silverstein promotional materials, which also outline the company’s air-filtration systems and social-distancing plan.   

RXR Realty, a major city office landlord whose holdings include 75 Rockefeller Plaza, coordinates food orders to the building through its own RXWell app, which was developed with Microsoft. The app features options such as Chopt and Sweetgreen. Deliveries are processed by the building’s management and placed on stands in the lobby for contactless pickup, as described by an RXR spokesman.  

Covid-19 guidance from the Real Estate Board of New York recommends that landlords develop a system for handling deliveries that limits lobby access. The board also recommends that corporate cafeterias remain closed.

That’s why Zuul, which has raised $9 million this year from investors, has built a platform that landlords can tap into and integrate within tenant apps, the same as Silverstein. CEO Corey Manicone said Zuul is in discussions with several other city property managers to use its food-delivery app.

Zuul does not charge the property owners for the technology, instead recouping its costs through a fee on the sales.

“Landlords have two key objectives in navigating this environment: reduce lobby foot traffic and limit people in the elevators,” Manicone said.

Partnerships with landlords could offer a new line of business to struggling restaurants. Zuul collects a 10% fee from restaurants on meal sales, as well

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Homes for tea garden workers

Mamata Banerjee has announced that homes will be built for over 3,500 workers of various tea gardens in the first phase of the Bengal government’s Cha Sundari project and jobs will be provided to more than 300 former militants and linkmen of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation.

The chief minister made the two announcements while holding a meeting in Siliguri on Tuesday to review different development projects in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri districts.

State finance minister Amit Mitra had announced Cha Sundari, a scheme to build homes for tea garden workers, in the budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal earlier this year. A sum of Rs 500 crore was allotted for the project in the budget.

Speaking at the review meeting at Uttarkanya, the north Bengal branch secretariat, Mamata said: “We will initiate the project shortly and 3,694 tea garden workers’ families will be provided with homes in the first phase. Of these houses, 2,641 will come up in Alipurduar, while 1,053 will be built in Jalpaiguri. We want to ensure that all homeless tea garden workers have their own houses. The plan is to finish the project within three years.”

In the second major announcement, Mamata announced jobs for former KLO militants and linkmen.

“In total, around 300 such people who have returned to the mainstream would be provided with jobs. They are from different districts of north Bengal. Today (Tuesday), we are providing jobs to 130 ex-KLO activists. Another 161 would be provided with jobs tomorrow (Wednesday),” the chief minister said.

Mamata also announced Rs 5 crore for the Kamtapuri Bhasa Academy constituted by the state government for conservation of Kamtapuri (a variant of the Rajbanshi language).

She set aside another Rs 5 crore for the renovation of the Buxa Fort in Alipurduar district.

“The chief minister made a meticulous move to win back the support of the tea garden population and the Rajbanshi community through her new announcements. There are 12 Assembly constituencies in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts and a party that has the support of tea garden residents and Rajbanshis can win most of these seats,” said a political observer.

In the course of the review meeting, Mamata also laid emphasis on the distribution of land rights, yet another prominent issue in the Dooars.

“All those residing in refugee colonies will be provided with land rights. Work has already started and people would be provided with secured land tenures,” she said.

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Tea garden workers in Bengal write to CM seeking legally binding wages

Workers of tea gardens in north Bengal have written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee raising a host of issues concerning them such as wages, ownership of land and financial assistance for closed tea gardens.

“We continue to get only ₹176 that has been determined in an ad hoc manner. Agricultural workers have a minimum wage of ₹257, as do workers in cinchona plantations,” the workers of closed, abandoned and sick gardens said in their letter addressed to the Chief Minister.

The letter sought the government to fix a legally binding minimum wage rate for tea plantation workers and added that though an ‘advisory committee’ for the same was set up in 2014, it has not come up with a figure. The workers raised the issue of harassment by managements when they tried to withdraw their provident fund savings, pension or gratuity and not getting payment of dues (interim relief) as ordered by the Supreme Court.

“The tea plantation workers are also not getting their dues of Financial Assistance to the Workers of Locked Out Industries (FAWLOI) Scheme. Gardens such as Birpara, Torsa and Raimatang have been closed for almost a year but have not received FAWLOI payments, which are supposed to be paid within 3 months of closure,” the letter said.

The letter, signed by representatives of Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity and union leaders of tea garden workers, added that tea plantation workers have no rights on the land they and their ancestors have been working on for over 200 years.

The issue of tea garden workers was raised on several occasions in the administrative meetings chaired by Ms. Banerjee in north Bengal during the day. The Chief Minister said that the State government has started a project called Cha Sundari for providing houses to homeless workers of tea gardens. “This is a ₹500 crore project. In phase I workers of seven tea gardens in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar will get 3,694 homes,” Ms. Banerjee said at the meeting.

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TMC Starts ‘Mamata’s Kitchen’ Scheme to Provide Migrant Workers Meals for Rs 5

Kolkata: With an aim to support lakhs of migrant workers who have suffered a massive financial setback due to job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trinamool Congress has started a community kitchen under the name, ‘Didir Rannaghar (Mamata’s kitchen)’.

At ‘Didir Rannaghar’, a meal would cost as little as Rs 5 during the Durga Puja period. The kitchen will be functional every day between 11 am and 3 pm, and the menu (which will change every day) will be mostly vegetarian and include rice, dal (pulses), mix vegetable, ‘shukto’ (vegetable stew) soyabean, ‘Khichdi’ (cooked rice and lentils), papad.

As Bengal prepares itself for “measured” Durga Puja celebrations this year amid social distancing, the kitchen initiative by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in association with various party clubs is likely to bring smiles on lakhs of people who are struggling to find even one square meal a day.

These kitchens have already started functioning in Howrah district, Belgachhia (in Kolkata) and Barrackpore in North 24-Parganas district. The TMC also plans to run similar kitchens across the state for the duration of the festive season.

Speaking to the News18, TMC MLA Tapas Roy said, “Under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, we have decided to stand beside the people, primarily those belonging to the underprivileged sections/unorganised sectors as they have suffered a lot due to the pandemic situation. We are hopeful that ‘Didir Rannaghar’ will benefit them immensely.”

“Apart from cooked food, we are planning to donate clothes to the poor so they can wear new clothes during the festive seasons. ‘Didir Rannaghar’ is a pledge undertaken by the TMC to support those who are battling to feed their family members due to job loss.”

A special attention will be paid to hygiene in these kitchens and to make them popular, several posters with public hygiene messages will be put up at block level.

CPI (M) has already started nearly 700 ‘Sramojibi canteen’ (community kitchen) across the state. The party has also also initiated 50 health clinics and safe houses for the poor who cannot afford expensive health care facilities.

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This should be American workers’ future, say House Republicans



Kevin McCarthy wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera


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Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy Getty/Jim Watson

Ten House Republicans who fashion themselves policy wonks are out with their diagnosis of what ails the American worker. Their proposed cure is a future that would be brutish, nasty and short.

The Hobbesian, dog-eat-dog policies the Republican Study Group proposes would enhance the power of those born to privilege, just so long as nothing knocks them off their comfortable perch.

The report proposes:

  1. No forgiveness of student loans even though our federal government authorized students to borrow huge sums to attend worthless commercial schools that went bankrupt, leaving them with no degree, just debt. The Republican plan lacks even the mercy provisions for debtors written into Hammurabi’s Code almost 4,000 years ago, which wiped away debts when storms, war or corruption ruined a borrower’s finances.
  2. A turn away from comprehensive higher education, especially liberal arts, to focus on technical skills and employability. Forget about developing the rigorous and thoughtful minds that enable young people to become informed citizens.
  3. Throughout, the report makes recommendations that would require a larger federal government workforce to police workers, students, poor people and immigrants.
  4. Empower workers by further weakening, if not eliminating, unions. The Republican Study Group report calls for workers to have more freedom to negotiate directly with their employers, a solution in search of a problem. “Our approach would unleash the full potential of the American people by refocusing labor policy to provide workers more control over their own future,” the report states. Given that individual workers are mostly commodities, that’s the equivalent of urging that each grain of wheat in a silo be free to negotiate whether it goes into the grist mill first or last.
  5. Get tough on the poor and immigrants, who are portrayed as greedy thieves who shirk work, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. The poor and hungry get the blame for high levels of what the report artfully calls “improper payments” despite evidence that mostly these are screwups by federal agencies, not applicants. Not a word, by the way, is said about thieving defense contractors, farmers and other business operators even though a link in the report is full of examples where such businesses benefit from fraud, waste and abuse.

The 66-page report, Reclaiming the American Dream: Proposals to Empower the Workers of Today and Tomorrow, is amazingly slipshod. Frankly, the study group, lead by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) and its staff should be ashamed that they published such low-quality work.

Many hypertext links in the End Notes don’t work, including the first. Others point to web pages that generate a “404” page missing response. While some End Notes refer to official data, many point to ideological marketing organizations like the Heritage Foundation and polemics based on a priori assumptions.

Anti-unions claim

Bizarrely, the report characterizes unions as holding down the compensation of members. That’s absurd since the whole point of collective bargaining is to ensure that workers get fairly paid for their contribution to their

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BBC Wales Broadcasting House workers ‘felt like pioneers’

Grand Slam

Image caption

The reception area of Broadcasting House doubled as a Paris airport for the 1978 comedy Grand Slam

Loud swearing broadcast to the nation following a Gareth Edwards try and panic after a presenter passed out during a live radio show.

Sound engineer Richard Cobourne describes working at Cardiff’s Broadcasting House (BH) during its early years as feeling like “pioneers”.

“You almost thought, if something went wrong, it would be patched up without anyone noticing,” he says.

BBC Wales is leaving its Llandaff home of 54 years for a new city centre base.

  • Central Square studios in Cardiff go live
  • Cardiff Central Square – its transformation

It was where a distinctive form of Welsh broadcasting was developed – with the BBC’s longest-running drama Pobol y Cwm originally filmed there and the reception area doubling as an airport for cult classic film Grand Slam.

National news output also started taking shape over the first decade and Mr Cobourne joined in 1974 at a time of great expansion, with BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru both planned.

Image caption

Vincent Kane with Good Morning Wales editor Brian Evans in 1968

His life is entwined with the building more than most.

He met and married “the boss’s daughter”, Sue, who also worked there, with his father-in-law Harry Hockley, the man sent from London to oversee the building of BH and his mother-in-law vision mixer Beryl Hockley.

One of his first jobs saw him running up and down the touchline with a fluffy microphone recording the sound for a Wales v France game in 1975, and trying to keep pace with Gareth Edwards as he scored.

“I shouted a swear word very loudly in celebration and later had a dressing down from the producer who said ‘you didn’t have to share that with the country’.”

“I went to apologise to [commentator] Bill McLaren, who said ‘don’t worry, you only shouted what three million Welsh people were thinking’.”

Image caption

The C1 studio gallery in the 1980s

He said there was a buzz, with people aware they were setting the daily news agenda for Wales – but described work as “very labour intensive”, with around 80 people in the audio department alone.

The C1 studio was “very high-tech”, operating seven days a week for shows such as sitcom Terry and June and drama The Talisman, while C2 was used for children’s television in the morning, with Wales Today and the Welsh language Heddiw in the afternoon.

Image caption

BBC Radio Wales presenter Mal Pope outside BH

“A lot of people ask why are they leaving? She was magnificent. Did a job when broadcasting was evolving on television and radio, no question. But regrettably, it’s no longer fit for purpose,” he said.

“When it was built, a video edit suite and a small house were a similar size. A camera took an hour to get in the right position.

Image caption

Welsh radio news bulletins and shows originally went out on BBC Radio 4
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Create garden, Collector tells anganwadi workers

Collector Shilpa Prabhakar Satish has urged the anganwadi workers to ensure that the children in their centres are provided with balanced diet and greens and vegetables grown in the anganwadi garden.

Inaugurating the ‘poshan abhiyaan’ scheme in the anganvadi at Kanarpatti under Maaur union on Thursday, she said the scheme, designed to provide healthy diet to children enrolled in anganwadis, had mandated creation of ‘anganwadi garden’ where greens, vegetables and fruits should be grown. The anganwadi workers should grow fruits like papaya, banana, a variety of greens and vegetables in these gardens for providing nutritious food to the children.

“Since the government has made sufficient provisions for creating the ‘anganwadi garden’, the workers should make use of it in the best interest of children. Besides ensuring healthy and balanced diet to the children, this programme will inculcate in the young minds the importance of creating garden in their houses for getting fresh greens, vegetables and the fruits,” she said.

She also asked the anganwadi workers to convert the nutritious flour being supplied to the anganwadis into ‘idiyappam’, ‘laddu’, ‘puttu’ and ‘kozhukattai’ so that the children would eagerly eat these dishes.

Project Director, ‘Mahalir Thittam’, Michael Fernando and Project Officer, Integrated Child Development Programme, Jayasurya were present.

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9/11 Day And World Central Kitchen To Deliver 30,000+ Meals From Local Restaurants To First Responders And Healthcare Workers In 35 Cities Nationwide

NEW YORK, Sept. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In observance of the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, now a federally recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance, 9/11 Day, founded by 9/11 families and others from the 9/11 community, and World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by chef and humanitarian José Andrés, are teaming up to deliver more than 35,000 meals from local restaurants to support first responders and frontline healthcare workers in more than 35 cities nationwide.

The program will provide a much-needed infusion of revenue for independently owned restaurants struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 9/11 Day and World Central Kitchen said that the goal of the program is to ensure that at least 50 percent of the meals will come from minority-owned restaurants. 

“Preparing and sharing a meal is an expression of love,” said Nate Mook, CEO of World Central Kitchen. “Our aim is to create a groundswell of support for those working tirelessly on the front lines of the COVID-19 response while extending help and hope to restaurants and restaurant workers nationwide.”

Individuals can sponsor a meal for a first responder or healthcare worker for just $10.00 by visiting 911day.org. The Principal Financial Group Foundation has joined as a leading supporter of the program, helping to make those individual dollars go further with a grant of $250,000 made from the Principal Financial Group Fund.

Nationwide Day of Virtual Volunteering Planned for 9/11

Sponsoring a meal is one of 11 featured “good deeds” 9/11 Day will be promoting on its website this year as part of its nationwide day of virtual volunteering in observance of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America. 9/11 Day is the nonprofit that successfully worked to establish the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks as a federally recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance (“9/11 Day”).

“This program is reminiscent of how, 19 years ago, meals arrived at fire stations and hospitals as a show of solidarity and appreciation from the community,” said Jay Winuk, 9/11 Day co-founder and 9/11 family member. “This year, anyone, anywhere can get involved by sponsoring a meal and supporting local businesses in the process.”

“Principal Foundation maintains our commitment to empowering underserved communities especially during these challenging times,” said Paula Juffer, Interim Principal ® Foundation Director. “This association with 9/11 Day and World Central Kitchen provides another opportunity to support minority owned small businesses as well as providing meals to over 200,000 first responders.”

Other major contributors to this program include Raytheon Technologies, Stifel, Turner Construction, Zurich Insurance, Citi Foundation, Bank of America, Kroger, Pfizer, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps and other national service programs.

For more information on 9/11 Day please visit 911day.org.

Emily Walsh/Omar Renta
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SOURCE 9/11 Day

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