Guwahati, Jan 29 (PTI) The Congress government in Assam,often criticised by the opposition for eyeing the dominant teagarden labour community as a vote bank, has outlined measuresfor their welfare ahead of the state assembly election slatedfor later this year.
"Our government has taken up many welfare programmes forthe overall development of the tea community in the last nineyears because we know it is impossible to think of a developedAssam without ameliorating their plight", Chief Minister TarunGogoi, who will seek to be re-elected for a third consecutiveterm this time, said yesterday.
The government, he said, has allocated Rs 110 crore inthe past nine years and plans to sanction Rs 20 crore thisyear for the welfare of the tea community while the previousAsom Gana Parishad regime had spent only Rs 10 crore.
Under the Assam Gratuity Fund Scheme, the provident funddeposit limit and insurance benefit in case of death has beenincreased.
The Union Ministry of Trade and Commerce had announced afund of more than Rs 2000 crore as special package tomodernise tea industry which will help increase in productionas well as income of the tea community, Gogoi said in astatement.
The state government in its turn would set up a resthouse and a cultural centre in Rupnagar in the city. Besides,two other rest houses would be soon constructed at Dibrugarhand Silchar for the sick people of the tea community, ex-teagarden workers, their care takers or attendants.
Another important endeavour to be undertaken by thegovernment would be to expand the panchayats to the teagardens. ''''You will be happy to know that tea garden labourerfamilies are getting benefits of Indira Awas Yojana, SwarnaJayanti Gram Swarajgar Yojana and other schemes,'''' he said.
Referring to sick gardens and tea factories, the chiefminister said the government has taken steps to revive 14 ofthem under the aegis of Assam Tea Corporation so that thelivelihood of the labourers is ensured.
This apart four new Industrial Training Institutes wereestablished and 17 others modernised to enhance the capacityof the workers.
Besides, a special scheme has been taken up to construct50 training centres in as many tea garden areas of the statefor capacity building of youths of the tea community so thatthey can be self employed.
The government, he said, had improved health services in300 tea gardens in 2010-2011 and plans to supply ambulances tothose gardens.