Stocks
Sensex trades 104 points down; healthcare stocks hit
The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was also trading in the negative territory during the late afternoon session. It was down by 37.75 points or 0.45 percent at 8,410.35 points
 
A day after a 556-point decline, a benchmark index of the Indian equities markets, the 30-scrip BSE Sensitive Index (Sensex), was on Tuesday trading in the red during the late afternoon session.
 
The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was also trading in the negative territory during the late afternoon session. It was down by 37.75 points or 0.45 percent at 8,410.35 points.
 
The Sensex of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 27,860.51 points, was trading at 27,782.61 points (at 2.30 p.m.), down 103.60 points or 0.37 percent from the previous day's close at 27,886.21 points.
 
The Sensex had touched a high of 27,976.93 points and a low of 27,687.07 points in the intra-day trade so far.
 
In Tuesday's trade so far healthy buying was observed in metal and consumer durables sectors.
 
However, stocks of healthcare, automobile, oil and gas, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and capital goods came under heavy selling pressure.
 
The BSE S&P healthcare index plunged by 441.84 points, followed by automobile index which declined by 112.22 points, oil and gas index fell 53.00 points, FMCG index receded by 52.12 points and TECK index was down by 13.00 points.
 
However, the S&P BSE metal index was up by 59.45 points and consumer durables index was marginally higher by 2.95 points.
 
On Monday, the BSE Sensitive Index closed 556 points or nearly 2 percent down, due to below-expected quarterly results coupled with negative global cues.
 
The Sensex had plunged by 620 points in the intra-day trade on Monday as interest rate-sensitive stocks like capital goods, automobile and banks fell. 
 
Fears of more retrospective tax cases impacted foreign investors' sentiments -- which also dented the rupee's value.

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The changing demographics in north Bengal's tea estates
Migrations are primarily happening as tea workers are facing numerous problems, right from low wages to poor living conditions and lack of other benefits
 
Even as seven tea gardens in the north Bengal hills remain closed, labour demographics in the estates producing the globally famous Darjeeling tea have begun to rapidly change with local workers migrating to other areas and states and those from Nepal and Bhutan rushing in to fill the vacuum.
 
"On an average, every year at least 25 percent of the tea garden workers, along with their families are quitting in search of an alternate livelihood and migrating to nearby areas and states. They are also shifting over to other industries in Gujarat and elsewhere," Ziaur Alam, a leader of the Left-backed CITU, told IANS.
 
He said the migration from "good, labourer-friendly gardens" is about 15 percent and for others, it ranges between 20 and 25 percent.
 
Alam, who has been extensively interacting with tea estate workers, said the migrations are primarily happening as tea workers are facing numerous problems, right from low wages to poor living conditions and lack of other benefits.
 
The plantation workers have been living in north Bengal for generations, tracing their lineage to their forefathers the British brought from what is now Jharkhand, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh as also Nepal. The Assamese and local populations were then reluctant to join the plantations.
 
While politicians, trade unions and the (owner-driven) Indian Tea Association acknowledge the migration, quantifying it remains a challenge. Asked if there has been a recent surge, Indian Tea Association general secretary Manojit Dasgupta told IANS: "It is definitely happening, but we don't have any visible, statistical data on this."
 
West Bengal lawmaker and Congress leader Sankar Malakar, who is also a member of the (central government-run) Tea Board of India's labour welfare committee, said there is no alternative for the workers but to seek other means of survival when faced with the conditions in the tea gardens.
 
"Workers leave the tea estates not only for better job opportunities. There are other reasons as well. What can they do if they don't get the benefits as promised by the plantation owners?" Malakar asked while speaking to IANS.
 
While the shortage of workers has become a major problem in the area, trade unions and politicians alike also pointed out the scarcity of permanent workers and a wave of daily-wage labourer migration from neighbouring Nepal and Bhutan.
 
"Owing to the porous border, workers from Bhutan and Nepal are entering tea estates in north Bengal and nearby areas as daily-wage labourers", Malakar said.
 
Acknowledging the labour shortage in the plantations, Alok Chakraborty, leader of the Trinamool Congress-backed Trinamool Tea Plantation Workers' Union, said the tea garden managers have started relying heavily on daily-wagers and cash-pluckers (seasonal labourers) as this doesn't carry any liability for the management.
 
"Whereas the optimal requirement for permanent workers is one per acre, at present it is anywhere between three-five acres per worker," Chakraborty told IANS.
 
Since 1998, labourers from Nepal have been crossing the border daily to enter the tea-gardens for their livelihood, he added.
 
"In recent times, the migration has increased manifold. But there is no data on this. They come in the morning and cross over to the other side of the border in the evening," he said, adding: "The need of the hour is to increase the strength of permanent workers and address problems with workers' housing and health. There has to be at least one hospital every 8-10 km."
 
McLeod Russel, one of the largest tea companies, refused to comment on the issue.
 
"I don't want to say anything on this," Kamal Baheti, a company director, told IANS.
 
While most stakeholders contacted on the issue agreed to the changing labour profile in the tea gardens, the unavailability of statistical data and the unofficial status of daily cross-border migration seem to be the reasons for the issue not coming into focus that much.
 
According to the Indian Tea Association, from January to December 2014, the 270 gardens from Terai, Dooars and Darjeeling in north Bengal produced 329.31 million kilos of tea, up by 16.43 percent from 2013.

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Rajdhani catches fire at New Delhi rail yard
At least five coaches of the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express train were damaged in a fire that broke out while the train was in the New Delhi railway station yard on Tuesday after dropping off the passengers, officials said.
 
However, no casualty was reported. 
 
Nineteen fire tenders were pressed into service after a call was received from the railway station at noon, said an official of the Delhi Fire Service.
 
According to the official, at least five coaches of the train were damaged in the fire. 
 
"After dropping the passengers, the train was halted at the yard near the washing line and was being readied for its return journey," he said.
 
The official added that the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained.

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COMMENTS

vishal

2 years ago

the working of the Indian Railways is still at the pre historic stage in India. It was reported in News yesterday the Mail from Bangalore to Chennai was halted by a thief after he looted jewels from ladies in a compartment near Jolar Betai. What were the Railway Police doing till the train was stopped and the thief made his escape. The passengers never get to know the answer. In the meanwhile we are talking about bullet trains.

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