STAFF REPORTER GUWAHATI:
Tea Tribes Welfare in Assam: The BJP on Wednesday alleged that the Congress more than any other political parties exploited the tea community in the State.
Addressing the media here, Minister of State, Labour and Tea Tribes Welfare and senior BJP leader Sanjay Krishan slammed AICC (All India Congress Committee) general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's recent visit to tea gardens.
Taking potshots at Priyanka Gandhi, Krishan said, "The rights of the tea tribes were taken away by the Congress during its15-year-long regime in Assam. Priyanka's grandmother late Indira Gandhi and father late Rajiv Gandhi never understood the sentiments of the tea tribes. When the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government was formed in the State, steps were taken to give back the rights of the tea tribes."
Krishan underlined that in the last 60 to 70 years, the tea labourers had no bank accounts.
"When the BJP came to power in the Centre, it took initiative to open bank accounts for the tea tribes. However, the Congress was trying to hinder the process. More than four lakh tea workers have bank accounts today. They are receiving benefits of various schemes through these accounts. The Congress didn't bother to open bank accounts for the tea workers as it was depriving the latter of various funds meant for the tea community," Krishan opined.
Further, Krishan vehemently slammed the Congress for 'failing' to control the maternal and infant mortality rates in the tea garden areas.
"During the Congress regime, maternal and infant mortality rates were very high. This was highlighted in various surveys. After the BJP came to power, it took initiatives to control this serious situation. The government provided Rs 12,000 to each of the pregnant women so that they can take care of their health," said Krishan.
"The Congress didn't take steps to develop the education in the tea areas. The tea gardens were only left with schools that were established during the British rule. There were no higher education institutions. As many as 119 high schools have been established in the tea gardens during the BJP regime. Additionally, higher secondary schools and colleges will be established in these areas in the near future. The BJP has made concrete line roads in the tea gardens. The Congress only implemented two schemes for the tea workers. However, numerous schemes are running under the BJP-led government," Krishan said.