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Tea tribes peeved at NRC ‘harassment’

Special Correspondent

Silchar, April 21: Along with all other non Assamese groups, tea tribe community is also very much annoyed and angry with the process of family tree verification which has become a cause of endless harassment to them. In a written submission to Ripun Bora, MP and president of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, Dilip Singh Chetri, president, and Pradip Tanti, general secretary, Cachar District Congress Tea Core Committee, narrated how the family members of their community have been put to extreme mental and physical torment in the name of verification. They are being directed to go not only within the places of the district but also beyond that. 
It entails huge conveyance expenditure which they can hardly be expected to bear. Despite their adverse pecuniary condition, they have to oblige with a sense of fear in their mind. This directive of the NRC authority concerned is in contravention of the declaration of the Supreme Court on July 21, 2015 to recognize tea tribes as original inhabitants. It is therefore beyond their comprehension why they should be harassed in such a blatant manner, pointed out Dilip Singh Chetri. Both Chetri and Tanti have demanded an end to the harassment of tea tribe people and to abide by the directive of the Apex Court.
 Besides, they have also insisted considering their economic backwardness, they should be provided transportation or conveyance charges. Apart from that, the tea tribe core committee has pleaded for more schools from primary level to higher secondary stage on the basis of their population pattern. One of the serious problems faced by the tea tribe community in their places of work in tea gardens is the lack of qualified nurses, doctors and pharmacists. Appointment of qualified medical staff is the need of the hour. No hospital can run with registered medical practitioners (RMP) who cannot be expected to provide the basic care and treatment.
 Another irritant for them is the non implementation of Plantation Labour Act which needs to be put in operation. A good number of Hindi medium schools which were taken over by the state government and converted into Bengali medium should be restored to their original status in view of the fact that Hindi is the lingua franca of the country. Educated boys and girls of the tea tribe should be absorbed in the vacancies existing in the tea gardens of Cachar district on priority basis. The families of the tea tribe who have been provided LPG cylinder should be made free as they are incapable of refilling it.
 The government should also consider fixation of the price of green leaves in consideration of the rising cost essential commodities in order to enable the managements of tea estates to enhance the wages of the workers. This representation was made to Ripun Bora after a meeting of the Cachar District Congress Tea Core Committee with him at Hasi Khusi Community Hall here today. Ripun Bora later on addressed the conference of the core committee where he assured the tea tribe to address their demands for their redressal. Also present on the occasion were Sushmita Dev, MP, Kamalakshya Dey Purkayastha, MLA, Manilal Goala, Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, Ajit Singh, Pradip Kumar Dey, president, Silchar district Congress committee, and Satu Roy, president, Karimganj district Congress committee. 

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Ankur Kalita