WLTC Photo Series
Bondita Acharya is the Director of Purva Bharati Educational Trust in Jorhat, Assam. She works on gender, education, women and human rights.
This is a story of Lakhi Nayak from Hilikha tea garden in Titabor, Jorhat. There are nine members in Lakhi's family—herself, her son, her daughter-in-law and four grandsons. While her son has a regular job in the tea garden, her daughter-in-law is employed there as a temporary worker. Her four young grandsons do not work.
The morning this picture was taken, Lakhi had had roti and tea for breakfast. She said she had rice, dal and alu pitika for dinner the previous night but had skipped lunch that day because no meal was cooked at home in the afternoon.
During our conversation, Lakhi said her son had not received his salary during the lockdown period. The tea gardens in Jorhat are operating at 50% workforce and according to the workers, they have neither received full-time work nor compensation. As it is, their daily wage is only Rs 167. Now the workers are paid only for days on which they are called to work. They are also provided ration based on the number of days they work.