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Death in closed Redbank

Siliguri, July 20: A worker of the closed Redbank tea estate died on Friday night, days after the government announced food grain and health care initiatives for shut estates in north Bengal.

The immediate reason that caused the death of 45-year-old Puney Munda was cardiac arrest but other garden residents said Munda had been suffering from general weakness for some time.

Deaths in closed tea gardens have been attributed to malnourishment by NGOs and local health workers, but the government has never officially accepted this.

Five residents of Redbank in Banarhat, Jalpaiguri district, have been admitted to Dhupguri block hospital. Two are reported to be anaemic, two others have been admitted with inflated limbs. A girl is suffering from weakness.

Garden sources said Munda was feeling weak. He was walking out of his home and slipped and fell. He suffered a cardiac arrest and died on the spot. “He died because of weakness,” a garden worker said.

Chanchal Rakshit, a doctor at the Banarhat health centre, said: “The worker died of heart attack, not malnutrition.”