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'Allocate 5% of development funds for TEs'

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Dec 9 - State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said that the Government was considering allocation of at least five per cent of the development funds from each department to be used specifically for the welfare of the tea garden areas.

The Minister said that the proposal may find its reflection in the ensuing Budget session of the State Assembly in February next year.

The Minister while speaking at the consultation on �Initiatives in Tea Garden Areas� organized by the Health and Family Welfare department at the Assam Administrative Staff College here today said that he has directed the Deputy Commissioners to prepare over 700 tea garden specific action plan in their respective jurisdiction and submit the fund requirement for the same before the January 15 next year.

�There are around 758 tea gardens in the State and I am expecting more than 700 such action plans as the situation varies from garden to garden,� the Minister said.

�Until and unless all the departments come up with a cohesive approach, be it the PWD or the Health and Education departments, holistic development of tea gardens will remain a distant dream,� he said.

The Minister also said that special wage compensation scheme for pregnant and lactating women of tea garden community will be rolled out as per which Rs 2,000 per month will be paid to each pregnant tea garden worker for six months starting from the last three months of pregnancy.

�This would ensure that the pregnant women need not go for work during the advance stage of pregnancy, which will go a long way in lowering the maternal mortality rate in tea garden areas,� the Minister pointed out.

�We will cover the temporary female tea garden workers under our scheme and at the same time the tea garden management will be asked to have similar provisions for the permanent female workers for at least six months,� the Health Minister said.

Sarma, who is also holding the Education department portfolio, stated that setting up of at least 300 high schools, apart from Lower Primary and Middle English schools, is in Government�s agenda.

He also announced that the Government is contemplating to change the timing of schools in the tea garden areas depending on the work timing of the parents so that school dropout ratio is brought down and overall educational status is improved.

�We are considering if school timing can start from 7 am and for that we will have to come up with a breakfast programme,� he stated.

�We are aiming at a turnaround in the tea gardens within four years,� the Minister said.

Apart from Member of Parliaments RP Sharma, Kamakhya Prasad Tasha and Pradan Barua, Ministers Keshav Mahanta and Atul Bora � along with more than 10 legislators were also present in the meeting.

Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia, Mission Director, National Health Mission Dr P Ashok Babu and Deputy Commissioners from 16 districts too attended the consultation.

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GUWAHATI, Dec 9 - State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said that the Government was considering allocation of at least five per cent of the development funds from each department to be used specifically for the welfare of the tea garden areas.

The Minister said that the proposal may find its reflection in the ensuing Budget session of the State Assembly in February next year.

The Minister while speaking at the consultation on �Initiatives in Tea Garden Areas� organized by the Health and Family Welfare department at the Assam Administrative Staff College here today said that he has directed the Deputy Commissioners to prepare over 700 tea garden specific action plan in their respective jurisdiction and submit the fund requirement for the same before the January 15 next year.

�There are around 758 tea gardens in the State and I am expecting more than 700 such action plans as the situation varies from garden to garden,� the Minister said.

�Until and unless all the departments come up with a cohesive approach, be it the PWD or the Health and Education departments, holistic development of tea gardens will remain a distant dream,� he said.

The Minister also said that special wage compensation scheme for pregnant and lactating women of tea garden community will be rolled out as per which Rs 2,000 per month will be paid to each pregnant tea garden worker for six months starting from the last three months of pregnancy.

�This would ensure that the pregnant women need not go for work during the advance stage of pregnancy, which will go a long way in lowering the maternal mortality rate in tea garden areas,� the Minister pointed out.

�We will cover the temporary female tea garden workers under our scheme and at the same time the tea garden management will be asked to have similar provisions for the permanent female workers for at least six months,� the Health Minister said.

Sarma, who is also holding the Education department portfolio, stated that setting up of at least 300 high schools, apart from Lower Primary and Middle English schools, is in Government�s agenda.

He also announced that the Government is contemplating to change the timing of schools in the tea garden areas depending on the work timing of the parents so that school dropout ratio is brought down and overall educational status is improved.

�We are considering if school timing can start from 7 am and for that we will have to come up with a breakfast programme,� he stated.

�We are aiming at a turnaround in the tea gardens within four years,� the Minister said.

Apart from Member of Parliaments RP Sharma, Kamakhya Prasad Tasha and Pradan Barua, Ministers Keshav Mahanta and Atul Bora � along with more than 10 legislators were also present in the meeting.

Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia, Mission Director, National Health Mission Dr P Ashok Babu and Deputy Commissioners from 16 districts too attended the consultation.

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