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Tea workers body to hold mass rally on March 15

 From Our Special Correspondent

Silchar, Feb 9: The newly formed ‘Rashtra Bhasa Cha Janagoshti Unnayan Mancha (RBCJUM)’ backed by 30 organizations has been carrying on a sustained campaign in tea gardens and beyond all the Hindi speaking people inhabited areas since February 9 in order to fight for the causes of the community. The Mancha has also held demonstrations and rallies in support of their demands at many places. Till now, such demonstrations have been held in Silchar, Hailakandi, Ramkrishna Nagar, Patharkandi, Lakhipur and Udharbond to send signal to the State government. But, so far no response has come from Dispur. Considering the indifferent attitude of the State government, the Mancha has decided to launch month long signature campaign across the urban and rural areas of Barak Valley. The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the members of the Mancha at Hasi Khusi community hall here recently presided over by Ghanshyam Pandey. Dilip Kumar, an important functionary of the body, said the main demands of the Mancha centre round education, implementation of Tea Plantation Act, encroachment of tea garden land, employment, health, census on tea garden areas among others.
Dilip Kumar elaborating on the issues raised said after Independence more than 150 Hindi medium schools were opened in Barak Valley. Subsequently, the medium of instruction was changed. Though the names bear Hindi pathshala, the medium is Bengali. In comparison to primary and lower primary schools, the percentage of high school, higher secondary school and colleges in tea garden areas are almost nil. There is no timely distribution of books in Hindi medium on different subjects. There is gross disparity and mismatch between the number of students and teachers. These deficiencies have to be removed, the Mancha leader asserted.
The demand has also been for 30% reservation for the students of tea garden community in higher centres of education. Deserving boys and girls should be appointed against the vacant posts of tea gardens. The Mancha has forcefully pleaded for implementation of Tea Plantation Act for the betterment and welfare of tea garden community. Another serious problem that came up was in respect of encroachment of tea garden lands by outsiders which should be vacated and allotted to landless people of tea garden community. Being economically poor, students of tea garden community cannot pursue higher education and their performance in examinations is poor.
In view of the constraints faced by the youths of the community, the Mancha has demanded 30% reservation for them in all government jobs. The community people in question are deprived of proper medical treatment and facility due to the lack of qualified doctors and trained nurses. This has to be seriously looked into by the State government in order to reach minimum expected medical care to them. The members of the Mancha also stressed on conducting census in tea garden areas in order to ascertain the exact number of Hindi speaking people in Barak Valley.
Besides, the Mancha has placed before the State government 30% reservation in panchayat elections for tea garden community. The artists, sports men and those interested in literary works should be given incentives. Awadhesh Kumar Singh, Mancha leader, pointed out after signature campaign, a mass rally has been planned on March 15 and with that objective preparations are afoot to mobilize maximum participation from tea garden and Hindi speaking areas. Others leaders who spoke on the occasion included Mulchand Baid, Chandrashekhar Singh, Mahabir Bandia and Sanjeev Roy.