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By Our Newsmen

Siliguri / Kolkata, 15 December: AMIDST the series of on-going worker deaths in north Bengal tea gardens due to malnutrition, now a worker has committed suicide at the Red Bank tea garden in Jalpaiguri.

Mahesh Mahali, set himself on fire in the wee hours today at his thatched quarter, and died subsequently. His wife, Rosh Mahali, maintains that Mahesh was depressed for some time over lack of employment and earning as the Red Bank tea garden has been closed since 2013.

This is the first suicide by a worker in closed north Bengal tea gardens this season. This comes at a time when plagued by malnutrition, one or more distressed tea workers is dying in the north Bengal tea gardens almost every other day.

West Bengal government, however, is still in a denial mode. State labour minister M0loy Kundu today told the West Bengal Assembly that not a single tea worker death in north Bengal has been caused by starvation or by lack of treatment.

The response came in reaction to a demand from the Opposition Congress and Left MLAs that the government should come out the number of tea worker deaths this season.