Chah Bagicha Dhan Puraskar Mela 3rd phase launched

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Feb 6: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday launched the third phase of the Chah Bagicha Dhan Puraskar Mela under which Rs 3,000 was transferred directly to 7,46,667 bank accounts of tea garden workers, and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has taken up various measures for uplift of the tea community.

The scheme was started by the Assam government in 2017-18, and Rs 2,500 was provided to 6,33,411 bank accounts in the first phase, while an additional amount of Rs 2,500 was deposited to 7,15,979 bank accounts in the second tranche in 2018-19.

Speaking on the occasion, Sitharaman said Assam is known the world over for its tea. While people start their mornings with a cup of Assam tea, the labourers who grow the same tea have been neglected for a long time, forcing them to live a disadvantaged life.

“Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government assumed power in 2014, various measures for uplift of the tea community have been taken, as the Prime Minister has been sincerely making efforts for bringing a change to the lives of people of all sections,” she said.

Crediting the bank officials and Assam government employees for completing the task of opening more than 8 lakh bank accounts in tea garden areas after the demonetisation exercise, Sitharaman said that due to the inclusion of tea community people in the formal banking system, it has enabled direct transfer of benefits of government schemes to their bank accounts without any middlemen and leakage.

The Finance Minister said that the Central government allocated Rs 1,000 in the Union Budget 2021-22 for the empowerment of tea garden women of Assam and West Bengal, acting on a request from the Assam government and as a commitment of the Central government towards tea community people. ATMs, mobile banking facilities, etc., provided by banks in the tea gardens have taken banking there to the level of metro cities, she said.

Addressing the huge gathering, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal termed the day as historic and recalled the feat of opening of more than 8 lakh bank accounts in the tea garden areas after the demonetisation drive. He said the government has provided free textbooks, free uniforms and free admission to children of tea garden people and urged them to motivate their children to strive for acquiring education to succeed in this age of competition.

State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma spoke about plans to provide free breakfast in the tea garden schools. He also promised that the State government would soon announce a wage hike of the tea garden workers.