Guwahati, Oct 28 (UNI) The Assam government today announced that it will file FIRs against the tea estates posing serious health hazards, resulting in the death of 168 people from diarrhoea over the past three months.
Addressing a press conference here, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the Joint Directors of each district would be directed to file FIRs against the tea estates, if they were found not conforming to the health regulations.
''There is only one tubewell in each tea garden for hundreds of labourers and that too is under sewage drains in many gardens.
Our team as well as the UNICEF and district administration teams have checked the gardens in Golaghat and Jorhat districts. But the tea managements are not heeding our request to purify the drinking water,'' he said.
In these two districts, along with Dhubri and Morigaon, diarrhoea had taken almost an epidemic form, affecting more than 19,000 people.
''The worst-hit is Jorhat district where 8,303 people of 23 tea estates have been affected,'' the minister said.
''The state Health department has been instructed to look into the matter. However, the focus should be on drinking water sources which should be decontaminated,'' he said.
He alleged that the tea garden authorities were not inclined to spend even Rs 10,000 for constructing a tubewell.
''We will file FIRs against individual tea gardens and the managers of the tea estates would be accountable for murder case under Section 302. We will coordinate with the state Home department so that the cases are handled quickly,'' Mr Sarma said.
The disease was under control in most parts of the state.
However, in Dhubri and Morigaon districts, the flood had contaminated almost every drinking water source, he said.