SONARI, March 19 � Though the tea garden labour votes constitute 49 per cent of the total number of voters in Sonari LAC, this community is being neglected by all the ruling parties.
The tea and ex-tea tribe community with more than 60,000 voters in Sonari LAC and about 40,000 voters in Mahmora LAC of Charaideo subdivision will be one of major factors in the battle for the ballot in Jorhat Parliamentary constituency. But this large section of voters is still living in a very deplorable condition even after 66 years of independence. Majority of these voters are living without electricity, pure drinking water, primary education for their children, health facilities or even an IAY house. They are being used only as a vote bank by the political parties.
The main organisations of tea garden labourers like the INTUC and Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) are being run by the Indian National Congress. The so-called leaders of the community too ignore them after being voted to power. The government schemes are far out of their reach. Nothing has been done to improve their lifestyle since independence.
Chandra Hansda, a 65-year-old ex-tea labourer of Timon Longsuwal Pather in Mahmora LAC has been denied an IAY house, �anamoi� toilet, BPL card though he alongwith his family members are living below the poverty line and all the adult members of the family are unemployed. They have neither got electricity nor got pure drinking water. A Krishak Mukti Sangram Samittee (KMSS) worker, Hansda said that the British brought their ancestors from Odisha and Jharkhand to give them work in the tea gardens of Assam about 150 years back, but since then, the tea labourers have become a very neglected community and even after so many years of independence, this community is at the same position as it was around 150 years ago. The labour class in Odisha and Jharkhand have progressed far ahead than the migrated tea labourers of Assam, who are engaged in the most profitable industry in Assam, but this community is still living in very deplorable conditions, he said.
Criticising Bijoy Krishna Handique, the present MP of Jorhat, Hansda said Handique has never visited their village in the last 25 years though he was voted to victory five times. The villagers have not seen the face of their MP in the last 25 years.