DHEMAJI, April 11 - Tea growers in Dhemaji district have appealed to the Deputy Commissioner to relax the lockdown in the small tea gardens in the district.
A press release signed by Dhemaji District Small Tea Growers� Association president Deben Dutta and secretary Pulakesh Boruah, stated that small tea growers have been severally affected by the lockdown, as they have not been able to conduct plucking activities, which has caused great loss.
The press release said that about 5,000 small tea growers are involved in tea cultivation in Dhemaji district. Moreover, a great number of jobless persons are also engaged as workers. In such a condition, both the small tea growers and workers are facing great problems.
Stating that this was the plucking season, the press release said that keeping the tea gardens closed at this time will cause huge loss to the small tea growers. Unless timely plucking is done, the tea bushes will be damaged.
Under such critical circumstances, the small tea growers appealed to the Dhemaji Deputy Commissioner to look into their plight and allow them to resume plucking activities in their small tea gardens, while still maintaining the guidelines of the lockdown like social distancing, frequent hand-washing, sanitisation and using face masks, in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection.
The small tea growers also urged the Deputy Commissioner to allow resumption of the two tea factories in Madhupur Tea Estate at Machkhowa in Dhemaji and Ananda Tea Estate in Boginadi in Lakhimpur.
Tezpur Correspondent adds: The Sonitpur district administration on Thursday held a meeting with representatives of the Tea Association of India, Assam branch of the Indian Tea Association, tea garden managements, small tea growers� associations, All Assam Tea Tribes Students� Association (AATTSA) and All Assam Adivasi Students� Association (AASA), among others to discuss the possibility of reopening tea gardens with 50 per cent of workers.
The meeting, held in the District Library Auditorium under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner Manvendra Pratap Singh, discussed various issues related to reopening of the tea gardens.
The district administration agreed to allow operations in the tea gardens only if the norms of social distancing, maintenance of hygiene, distribution of aprons, masks and gloves to tea garden labourers are strictly adhered to.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sonitpur district administration asked the tea garden managements to ensure that all preventive measures are strictly implemented in the tea gardens, with proper sanitisation of all areas with the help of PHED officials.
The district administration also sought home delivery of essential commodities, provision for separate entry and exit points to the gardens in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
The tea garden managements have been asked to engage supervisors to ensure strict compliance of all health and safety protocol.
The district administration is working on preparing guidelines for the same which will be distributed among all tea garden managements for smooth functioning of the gardens during the lockdown period.