TINSUKIA: The Assam Branch of Indian Tea Association (ABITA) Zone 1 covering four districts- Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sibsagar and Charaideo, in partnership with UNICEF, has contributed remarkably in improving the living condition of marginalized children and women belonging to tea communities in 114 assam tea gardens after it launched various components addressing issues like health, nutrition, water, sanitation, education, adolescent empowerment and child protection.
Briefing media persons at ABITA Zone1 office at Chawlkhowa on the outskirts of Dibrugarh on Saturday, ABITA secretary Madhurjya Barooah said that the gardens witnessed a changing scenario in reduction of maternal mortality, school dropout, child vulnerability and anaemia. The most significant was drastic reduction of all forms of child abuse and check in the spread of COVID pandemic among garden workforce where only 2 per cent was affected, Barooah stated.
Among those present in the interaction programme were Muktikam Bordoloi, UNICEF programme manager, Project Coordinators Gautam Rajkonwar (Nutrition), Subrata Guha (WASH), Rupjyoti Khaklari (WASH Consultant), Tilumoni Gogoi (Child Protection) and Bhaktimala Choudhury (Young Reporter). Earlier, Sandeep Ghosh, ITA secretary, through virtual platform lauded the efforts of UNICEF and garden managements in mitigating the emerging issues in tea estates in Assam.
In his presentation, Bordoloi highlighted success stories in respect of various components and mentioned that maternity mortality rate had shown declining trend from 182 in 2018 to 115.6 in 2019 through increased institutional delivery system as 98.14 per cent accepted institutional delivery after having received full anti-natal check-up. As many as 247 adolescent girls groups (AGG) with 21,600 registered members are functioning. Child marriage which was very prevalent among garden communities was recorded at 602 in 2009 but it reduced to 78 in 2019 while 37 cases were prevented through motivational and awareness programme, Bordoloi quoted.
Sailen Goswami, chairman of ABITA Zone1 and also manager Hatiali TE who was also present during the interaction programme, stated that holistic improvement in gardens remained a challenging task in the present garden scenario.