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Covid-19 scare in tea gardens: Cachar admin to accelerate targeted surveillance

By The Assam Tribune

Silchar, May 8: Covid-19 has spiralled its way into the tea gardens of Barak Valley as well.

According to Cachar District Health Department sources, as many as 16 persons from Kurkuri tea garden under Kalain area of the district were detected to be affected by the virus. This has resulted in the District Administration to communicate with the tea garden management of the district. Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli informed The Assam Tribune on Saturday that the cases were detected as a part of the community surveillance program. " We are taking up targeted surveillance in these places for aggressive testing and isolating those suspected of covid to cut the chain of transmission. We have written to tea garden managers and unions as well for cooperating on the same. As always they have been very supportive throughout," the Deputy Commissioner said.

Rajdeep Goala, joint general secretary of Barak Cha Shramik Union said that he spoke to Cachar Deputy Commissioner regarding a review of the situation to organise a meeting between the management and the labour unions to find out whether necessary precautions are in keeping the disease at bay. " Already many labourers in Dibrugarh are affected by COVID-19. In my opinion, there should be some restrictions in the operation of the tea gardens under the circumstances because the lives of the labourers is of utmost importance which is why the District Administration must take a call on the issue immediately," Goala maintained.

On the other hand, Bhaskar Prasad Chaliha, secretary Surma Valley branch of IndianTea Association (SVBITA) here said the association which has 53 tea gardens in Barak Valley( with most tea gardens falling in Cachar district) has talked with the State Government for vaccination drive into the tea gardens on camp basis.

"We have asked the management of the member tea gardens to strictly maintain the COVID-19 protocol while carrying out the operations so that the rate of infection is minimised. We have also specifically taken up the social issues in the tea garden and we are going ahead for a solution without disturbing the sensitivity of the community in the gardens," Chaliha said.

Expressing similar reactions Saradindu Bhattacharjee, secretary Tea Association of India (TAI) Barak Valley which covers 70 percent tea gardens in the valley here said that the awareness drive along with heightened sanitization activities are going on on a regular basis across the gardens. " We are ensuring maintenance of COVID-19 protocol in the tea gardens," Bhattacharjee maintained.

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