GUWAHATI, Dec 28 � The incident that took place on December 26 at Kunapathar Tea Estate in Tinsukia District is the latest in a sequence of events that has resulted in deaths inside tea estates of Assam, which could be traced to in illiteracy and economic deprivation.
The spread of education and awareness among the tea tribes is a vital prerequisite to stop such violent incidents taking place in and around tea estates of the State. Students leaders from the tea tribes as well as others acquainted with the present situation believe that the education is yet to take firm roots in areas dominated by tea tribes, which have added to the frustration amid a section of people.
Sources in the tea industry indicate that low level of awareness among tea workers has resulted in a feeling of distress among many. The situation has been exploited by some politicians who perceive the tea tribes as vote banks.
It has been repeatedly pointed out that the pass percentage of students from the tea tribes in the HSLC examination is among the lowest among all the categories mentioned in the annual SEBA records. While the pass percentage is increasing among other categories, the success has not been witnessed among students from the tea tribes.
A similar picture is observed in the number of successful graduates from the community, which is not proportionate to their population across various parts of Assam.
Condemning Wednesday�s attack at Tinsukia�s Kunapathar Tea Estate, the general secretary of Assam Tea Tribes Students Association (ATTSA), Poban Bedia told The Assam Tribune that such attacks cannot be seen as detached from the prevailing social and economic status of the tea tribes community. �Better educational opportunities are essential to spread awareness among the people�who may not even know the ways to air their grievances,� Bedia remarked.
He underlined the need to properly implement the Tea Plantation Labour Act, which would empower tea tribes� people to have a decent living in a fast changing world outside the estates.
Bedia also sought information and inputs from intellectuals to help the cause of the tea tribes, which play a vital role in the State�s economy. �We condemn the incident, but also underline the fact that managements of some tea gardens should be more sympathetic to the most basic dues available to their workers.�
The student leader further appealed to the tea garden workers no to take the law into their own hand, because there are channels which can be used to address their issues.