Mariani, Oct 22: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday promised to improve road connectivity, build schools and provide clean tap water at homes for all tea garden workers in Jorhat's by-poll-bound Mariani assembly constituency.
Addressing an election rally here at Hatigarh playground, Sarma also said that his government is working on a plan to reserve one lakh jobs for youths from tea garden communities. The CM further said that the BJP-led government was committed to working for the development and welfare of the tea tribe.
"It was with this purpose in mind Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi left his party to join the BJP a few months ago," he stated.
Four-time legislator Kurmi, who was the lone tea tribe MLA of the Congress, quit the grand old party and gave up assembly membership after the BJP won elections and formed government for the second consecutive term, thus necessitating the by-poll. He has been fielded by the BJP, this time, for Mariani by-elections. Making a host of promises for the development of tea garden areas and its workers, the chief minister announced that his government would sanction Rs 1 crore each for construction of roads inside the constituency's 40 estates.
He gave assurance that clean tap water and electricity would be made available at every tea garden worker's household in the area in the next six months. Sarma further said that 10 composite high schools and a government college will be set up in the constituency for locals. He also said mini sports stadiums will be built in the vicinity of the gardens, apart from the Rs 12-crore one that has already been allotted to the constituency.
"The government is working on a plan to reserve one lakh jobs for tea tribe youths, under existing Other Backward Classes quota, within a year, in keeping with the promise made by the BJP ahead of the state elections held earlier this year, the CM underlined.
He said that guest houses will be built near each government medical college and hospital in the state for accommodating the attendants of patients from the community. The CM, during his speech, highlighted other steps taken by the government for welfare of the tea tribe, including increase in daily wages to Rs 205, monetary dole for pregnant women, MGNREGA cards for casual garden workers and health insurance cards under central and state government schemes.
"The culture and traditions of all tea garden tribes and sub-tribes will be conserved by the new Indigenous and Tribal Faith and Culture department that our government has set up," Sarma noted.
Talking about the wild elephant menace in Mariani, which leaves acres of crops in ruins, he said, "As far as possible, we shall put up electric fences to keep them away."
He also affirmed that the Orunudoi scheme of the state government will cover an additional 6,000 families in Mariani in the next three months, taking the total number of beneficiaries here to 21,000.
"We are also contemplating the idea of increasing the dole from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 or Rs 2,500 under the scheme as it will help ease problems of locals to a greater extent," Sarma added.
The Chief Minister addressed multiple election rallies in Mariani during the day. Mariani, along with Tamulpur, Gossaigaon, Bhabanipur and Thowra constituencies, will go to polls on October 30. Votes will be counted on November 2.