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Five deaths in closed tea garden

Jalpaiguri, June 27: Two newborns and three adults have died in the past five days on the closed Raipur Tea Estate on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri because of suspected malnutrition.

Sima Haldar, the subdivisional officer of Jalpaiguri and Shraddha Subba, the block development officer of Jalpaiguri Sadar block, visited the garden today.

“The deaths are unfortunate but those were not because of malnutrition but anaemia. We are trying our best to ensure that workers are provided with food grains and medication,” the SDO said.

The garden closed in September last year. “Earlier, the garden had closed in 2002 and reopened in 2010. Things were becoming normal but again, in September 2013, the owner suddenly closed the garden. We are surviving by eating yam and little rice,” said Jitbahan Munda, an ailing garden worker.

The deceased adults are Sarpin Tirkey, 65, Tetri Baraik, 35, and Raji Baraik, 30.

“The major reason for anaemia is malnutrition. There can be some other reasons but malnutrition is the main cause,” said Barun Biswas, a doctor posted in Jalpaiguri district hospital.