GUWAHATI, April 2 - There are only 391 doctors and 381 welfare officers in the 800 registered tea gardens in the State, Labour Welfare Minister Pallab Lochan Das informed the Assembly today.
Replying to a question by Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi, Das said the tea garden managements had been claiming that doctors were not keen on joining the gardens and attempts to call for candidates and conduct interviews have gone in vain.
�To meet the shortage, the Health department has been requested to engage Subdivisional Medical Officers with additional charge of Medical Inspectors of Plantations in the districts of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Biswanath Chariali, Golaghat, Dhubri, Darrang, Charaideo, Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi,� the minister said, adding that the National Health Mission has also provided doctors in some gardens under a PPP model.
Even as he stated about the mobile medical units (MMU) being launched for tea garden people, the minister admitted that some garden managements were not giving the logistic support that the mobile units require.
The government will take necessary steps regarding appointment of welfare officers after completing the amendment process of the Plantation (Welfare Officer) Assam Rules, 1977, which is now under process, he said.
The minister further informed that the Central government has initiated the process of amending the Plantation Labour Act, as part of which a stakeholders meeting was already held in Guwahati.
Earlier, Kurmi wondered if there was laxity in the executive in implementing the Plantation Labour Act, 1951. He also alleged that the MMUs are deployed at the gardens during the working hours due to which the workers cannot avail the services.