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Doc visit puts glare on nutrition

July 1: A team of doctors, who visited the closed Raipur tea estate today, found several cases of anaemia and general weakness from malnourishment and vitamin deficiency among garden residents.

The assertion by the doctors is different from the claim made by ministers Gautam Deb and Jyotipriya Mullick, who during a visit to the closed garden had said the six deaths were because of different diseases, including heart ailments, not malnutrition.

The visit by a team from the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital followed yesterday’s instruction to doctors by north Bengal development minister Deb.

The minister had met local panchayat representatives and workers at Uttarkanya in Siliguri yesterday after which the decision to send the medical team was taken.

“We have found that right from infants to senior citizens, residents here are suffering several diseases. Among these are malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies, skin diseases, high blood sugar, anaemia and night blindness,” said Biswajit Das Majumdar, a general physician and one of the doctors in the team that examined over 100 people in Raipur.

“Necessary medicines have been distributed to the patients,” he added.

Six garden residents died in the past week because of suspected malnourishment in the estate that closed in September 2013.

Nandita Biswas, a gynaecologist who examined the women, said many women in Raipur “are also suffering in malnourishment and anaemia, along with certain gynaecological diseases”.

The medical team, administrative sources in Jalpaiguri said, would visit the closed tea estate at regular intervals.