DIBRUGARH, Jan 21 - In a dramatic event, a locality which is widely known for harbouring as many as 35 illegal liquor traders, several gambling operatives and dendrite as also whitener inhalation addicts, today resolved to curb all forms of anti-social practices in the area.
The locality, which is commonly called �Paccaline�, is the housing area of the Jalannagar (south) Tea Estate near Dibru College. This small Paccaline area is congested with a population of about 1,200. Majority of the occupants are non-tea garden workers. Among the dwellers, there are only about 152 workers of the tea garden. Despite educational institutions like LP school, high school and college being situated at only a stone-throw distance, the locality does not have any graduate. The literacy rate is abysmally low. Majority are school dropouts. The educated ones claim that elders in the locality do not even reach the age of 60 years at the time of their death.
Today�s resolve by the Paccaline community is described as a major breakthrough by several learned citizens in the surroundings because several earlier efforts to discourage gambling and the illegal sale of liquor had failed. Series of raids, seizures and arrests were made earlier, but the illegal trade has only kept thriving.
Mintu Madrasi, a local youth leader and a member of the local branch of the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, said that on several occasion, police, excise personnel and VDP leaders come to the illegal traders to collect money and few bottles of liquor for free. Under such situation, how can you expect closure of these illegal liquor dens? he asked.
The credit for the radical change today must be attributed to the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, which recently launched a massive month-long campaign against liquor consumption and gambling in tea gardens so as to create an environment conducive to study for the children of the gardens.
The local trade union leaders led by its secretary Nabin Keot had organised series of consultations and motivation programmes among the women workers, teachers and sub-staff of some 90 tea gardens under its jurisdiction.
As a consequence, the local tea garden workers, women wing, school children and the sub-staff of the plantation organised an awareness programme at the workers club ground near the Paccaline where the resolution was taken.
The awareness programme was also attended by Deputy Commissioner Laya Madduri. She spent about two hours, educating the gathering about the ills of drinking with the help of a documentary. Bharatiya Chah Parishad (BCP) chairman and proprietor of the tea estate Mrigen Jalan, Superintendent of Excise AK Bayon, Lecturer from Dibru College Bonti Phukan, Dibrugarh branch ACMS secretary Nabin Keot, ACMS staff � Sanjib Koiree and Mintu Madrasi, garden management and two psychiatrists from Assam Medical College also attended the programme and addressed the community.