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Largess to tea garden workers of Assam


It is, in fact, a disturbing news that the bankrupt Assam government has distributed Rs 2,500 each to 6.6 lakh tea workers having bank account. The point is that tea garden laborers are working in an organized sector. Apart from regular wages, the companies provide them free housing facilities, light and water besides heavily subsidised food items like rice, flour etc.  Those apart, medical facility, schooling (primary) and club facilities are also being provided in most tea gardens. The government at best should direct the tea companies to improve the existing facilities. It should be made mandatory for tea gardens to open and manage high schools as well. Tea companies should also be directed to provided maternity leave and other benefits to women workers at par with the State government provisions. I don't find any reason why State government has to spend when their employers are there to look after the wellbeing of tea workers. On the contrary, millions of our villagers are living in wretched conditions having no source of income/ sustenance, let alone talk of shelter, water, electricity etc.
In the same breath, I wish to ask a few pertinent questions to all concerned. There are around 900 tea gardens in Assam. Millions of hectares of land are occupied by tea gardens. In return, what is Assam gaining? How many of these tea companies have contributed for development of State infrastructure, schools, hospitals and universities? In other countries, industries contribute huge funds for schools and universities. The tea companies of Assam invest their profit on places outside Assam and maybe abroad as well. They are befooling us. The State government has to take a call on this issue.
Prafulla Dowarah,
Guwahati.