Tea tribes to rally in Barak

Members of the Mancha in Silchar on Monday. Picture by Swapnaneel Bhattacharjee

Silchar: The Rashtrabhasha O Chai Janagoshthi Unnayan Mancha, an umbrella organisation of 32 tea tribe welfare organisations in Assam's Barak Valley, will take out a rally here on Thursday, seeking fulfilment of their demand for job reservation.

Their demands also include 30 per cent quota for tea tribe people of Barak Valley in different segments such as education, employment and panchayat elections, appointments of adequate doctors and nurses in tea garden hospitals besides financial support to the gardens which are in poor condition, among others.

The Mancha's chief convener, Dilip Kumar, told reporters at a news conference here on Monday that tea tribes are the most deprived section of people in the valley.

He said their main objective is to make their voices reach Dispur and appealed to the government to take steps for fulfilment of the demands.

Kumar alleged that eight memoranda were submitted this year to chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal listing the demands, but there has been no response. He said their initiative to organise the rally is getting an overwhelming response with people of tea garden areas in the valley pledging their support. "We started a signature-collection drive from last month and have got signatures of around 15,000 people. Around 10,000 more signatures are expected."

On Thursday, the rally will start from Circuit House Road here and end near the Cachar deputy commissioner's office after winding its way through different localities of the town. Kumar said a memorandum will be submitted to governor Jagdish Mukhi through Cachar deputy commissioner S. Lakshmanan.

Kumar also demanded that the government provide financial support to the tea gardens of the valley which are in a shambles. He said connectivity should be developed and there must be regular power supply in the tea garden areas.

"Tea is one of the major economic sources of Assam. Necessary steps must be taken to ensure smooth functioning and growth of the industry," Kumar said.

Sanjeev Roy, one of the organisation's members, said in the memoranda submitted to Sonowal, they had served a two-month deadline to the government to implement their demands, but there was no response.

Barak Valley has 104 tea gardens.


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