GUWAHATI, June 30 - The Assam government would soon set up 100 high schools in the tea garden areas of the State. Similarly, line sardars of the tea gardens would be provided with smartphones. The government would also extend financial assistance of Rs 12,000 each to around 47,000 pregnant tea garden workers per year for nutritional purpose during the period of their pregnancy.
Reviewing the implementation of programmes for the welfare of tea tribes at his office conference room at Janata Bhawan on Friday evening, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed the departments concerned to expedite execution of the initiatives. The Chief Minister also asked the education department to expeditiously transfer Rs 600 each to girl students aged 12 to 20 years for procurement of sanitary napkins as announced in the State Budget. He also proposed to set up a new department to look after the plantation and commercial issues of tea, rubber, bamboo, etc., in the State.
Stating that lack of proper educational infrastructure in the tea gardens affects academic interests of the tea tribes students, the Chief Minister asked the secondary education department to take up speedy measures for setting up 100 high schools in the tea gardens. He also directed the department to develop the new schools as model institutions and engage modern construction technology for early completion of construction work.
Further, reviewing the progress of mobile phone distribution programme for line sardars of the tea gardens, the Chief Minister directed the tea tribes welfare department to provide them smartphones so that the phone could be utilised as a multipurpose device. Sonowal said the smartphone would enable the line sardars to establish contact with authorities concerned to address any emergency situation and also emphasized on apprising the line sardars about different welfare schemes of the government as well. He also asked the department to introduce an app with information in Assamese language in the phone for the same.
Taking part in the review, health department Principal Secretary Samir Sinha apprised the Chief Minister about the health-related issues in tea gardens and interventions made by the government to tackle those. Keeping in view of the high rate of maternal and infant mortality, the Chief Minister asked the department to disburse the financial assistance to be provided to pregnant tea garden workers amounting to Rs 12,000 each at the earliest. It was also decided in the meeting to provide the financial assistance in a phase manner up to two deliveries through direct benefit transfer to the beneficiaries. Besides, an incentive of Rs 200 per pregnant women to ASHA workers was also resolved in the meeting. Around 47,000 pregnant tea garden workers per year would be benefited by this initiative.
The Chief Minister also emphasized on generating awareness among the tea garden workers about health and other government programmes so that they could enjoy their benefits. He directed the department to take up aggressive awareness programme engaging the SHGs and also screening films on government schemes at the gardens. The Chief Minister also stressed on wider publicity of the mobile medical units (MMUs) which are being operationalised in the tea gardens. It is to be mentioned that presently 80 MMUs are put into service to cover 320 tea gardens in the State. The health department has also inked MoUs with another 150 tea gardens for strengthening their health infrastructure. Sonowal also asked the health department to examine the feasibility of providing free medicines in the remaining tea gardens as well.