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Essentials for tea garden workers in Assam

Hindustan Unilever and Unicef to focus on enhancing awareness related to Covid-19 in estates

By Avik Chakraborty in Dibrugarh
  • Published 23.05.20, 4:08 AM
  • Updated 23.05.20, 5:41 AM
  • a min read
Workers pluck tea leaves, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, at a garden in Assam. Telegraph picture

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has announced the extension of its collaboration with Unicef to support the delivery of essential hygiene products to tea plantation workers in Assam amid the lockdown.

The collaboration will benefit families residing in tea estates and facilitate the reach of key communication assets and the availability of essentials like soaps and toilet cleaners for workers.

The tea gardens in Assam opened from April 17 with 50 per cent workers, but is now working with hundred per cent workforce. The initiative focuses on enhancing awareness related to Covid-19 among tea workers and local communities and help them take necessary precautions to stay safe during the pandemic. Training modules and short videos created by HUL to train frontline healthcare workers in tea estates on response and containment measures will be developed.

HUL chairman and managing director Sanjiv Mehta said, “The tea industry is one of the oldest industries in India — a mainstream industry of the Northeast and one of the largest employers in the organised sector. As India’s largest tea company, we are committed to help keep those working in tea plantations safe and our partnership with Unicef aims to do just that.”

Unicef has been playing a key role in the tea plantations since 2010, focussing on the well-being of children and women.

Unicef India representative Dr Yasmin Ali Haque said, “Around two million people work in the Indian tea industry, most of them residing in the estates. Unicef has been working in tea gardens since 2010 through Indian Tea Association to improve working and living conditions of plantation workers. Protecting this population from Covid-19 is one of our highest priorities. With HUL’s support, we are confident of improving awareness levels and capacity building of healthcare workers across tea estates helping them fight this pandemic.”

In early April, HUL committed Rs 100 crore towards helping India fight the pandemic. As a part of this effort, it has rolled out several initiatives to ensure citizens have access to essential products like soaps, sanitisers and toilet cleaners, and understand the causes and implications of the virus through simple and direct communication.

HUL’s collaboration with Unicef is yet another measure to effectively and promptly identify communities affected by the Covid-19 crisis, and jointly guard their interests, while also driving widespread awareness campaigns around related myths and facts.

Meanwhile, garden workers are maintaining social distancing at work.