"The tea industry has given an identity to Assam and for the last 150 years, labourers from others parts of the country have come here and worked hard to ensure the world gets its tea," Modi said while addressing a rally at Ramnagar here today.
The living condition of the tea garden labourers were, however, deplorable and there has been no improvement in their living conditions over four to five generations, said Modi whose party has set up tea stalls to highlight his humble background of a tea seller.
"The industry earns crores of dollars in foreign exchange and the product reaches every home but both Central and Assam governments has paid no attention to the workers," he said.
The Gujarat chief minister asked, "Will they continue to live like this? Are they not entitled to proper houses, education for their children, health facilities and a dignified life?"
If voted to power, Modi said, he would initiate several schemes for the development and progress of tea garden labourers.
He also attacked the Congress government for creating a divide among tea gardens of Brahmaputra and Barak Valley.
"Why are wage rate of labourers in Brahmaputra Valley different from that of Barak Valley? Should labourers in the industry not get the same wage?"
Modi pointed out that this neglect of tea gardens in Barak Valley has resulted in sick gardens with labourers suffering and unemployment on the rise.
"Congress should be ashamed of this. They consider the Bangladeshis as their own but not the tea garden labourers of Barak Valley," he added.