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Regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Rs 160cr for tea workers’ accounts

Scheme was introduced by the state govt and Rs 2,500 each was credited to 7,21,485 tea workers' accounts in the 1st phase

Avishek Sengupta Guwahati Published 16.02.19, 12:34 PM
Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma at the Sarusajai sports complex in Guwahati on Friday.

Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma at the Sarusajai sports complex in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by UB Photos

The Assam finance department on Friday released around Rs 160 crore for tea workers, who opened bank accounts after demonetisation, under its Chah Bagicha Dhan Puraskar Scheme (tea garden prize-money scheme).

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma distributed the funds, to be credited in the accounts of tea workers, to administrations of 26 districts during a public meeting with tea workers’ sardars (leaders) at Sarusajai stadium here.

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The scheme was introduced by the BJP-led state government in the 2017-18 budget and Rs 2,500 each was credited to 7,21,485 accounts of garden workers across 752 estates in 26 districts in the first phase of the scheme.

The scheme entailed an expenditure of Rs 180 crore in the first phase, Sarma said.

“In the second phase, we are releasing Rs 154 crore for distribution of Rs 2,500 each into 6,25,000 accounts brought under the banking network in May 2016 after demonetisation and Rs 5 crore for distributing Rs 5,000 each in 10,000 new accounts that were not covered in the first phase. This money was provided to keep the bank accounts of the tea workers alive and to bring them within the ambit of the banking network,” Sarma told a crowd of over 1,500 tea workers from different districts.

The programme was organised by the tea tribes welfare department.

The scheme was taken up by the state government after it was found that tea workers were hit hard by the cash crunch following the decision by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre to demonetise the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes as most of them did not have any bank accounts and were solely dependent on cash transactions.

Sarma also used the platform to apprise sardars about the various benefits the 2019-20 budget proposed for the tea tribes community.

Sonowal said his state government was committed to uplift the community and the way forward is through education and self-sustainable means of income.

Two-wheelers were also distributed to 108 meritorious girl students from the tea tribes community who scored high marks in the 2018 matric exam, 142 auto vans to unemployed youths and one-time cash benefit of Rs 25,000 to 1,209 self-help groups of the community, among others.

Tea tribes welfare minister Pallab Lochan Das and Jorhat MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa also attended the function.

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