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CIMA Gallary

Death in closed tea garden

Alipurduar, Feb. 15: A resident of the closed Dalmore Tea Estate died last night of suspected liver cirrhosis but the middle-aged man’s daughter today said the lack of money in the house had made food difficult to come by.

Kumar Khural, 54, died from suspected liver problems, according both the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital and the local block medical officer of health.

He did not work in the garden but his son Dipesh did when the garden was open till July 29, 2012. Since then Dipesh has had no steady source of income, his sister Jina said.

She said without money at home, it was difficult for the family to buy food. Before Khural, 25 people have died in the last six months in this garden, raising questions of if the deaths were from starvation.

Workers said that in January, Khural’s family had written to the block development officer of Madarihat requesting him to arrange for his treatment. A team of doctors visited the garden and sent Khural to the Birpara General Hospital, 5km away, where he was treated for free.

He was later shifted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri. “He was in NBMCH for two weeks and was being treated for liver problems. He was discharged but his condition deteriorated. We did not get any help from the government. Last month, we got Rs 240 from the administration. We paid for the treatment at NBMCH,” Jina said.

Madarihat block medical officer of health Debojyoti Chakrabarty, however, differed from Jina on the matter of expenses for the treatment. “Khural had been diagnosed with stage IV liver cirrhosis. We paid for the NBMCH treatment.”

The tea estate, 70km from here, had 1,123 labourers. “The condition of Dalmore has become serious. If the state does not act immediately, it will become critical,” said Gopal Pradhan, a district committee member of the Dooars Cha Bagan Worker’s Union.