Gogoi writes to PM, urges Rs 5,568 cr aid for tea garden

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Guwahati, Feb 22: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce a multi- sectoral special package, including financial assistance of Rs 5568.80 crore, for the socio-economic uplift of tea garden community of the state.

Gogoi requested Modi to issue necessary directions for providing financial assistance for over-all socio-economic development of the tea garden workers, amending the Plantation Labour Act 1951 and providing monthly 12,590 MT of additional food grain to tea garden workers at subsidised rates.

Tarun Gogoi

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister wanted the headquarters of the Tea Board of India to be shifted to Guwahati and include tea and the tea industry in the state list.

Gogoi said the state government has notified the draft proposal for enhancing the minimum rates of wages of plantation workers in the tea estates to Rs 177.19 for both permanent and temporary workers, exclusive of any fringe benefits enjoyed by workers and their dependents.

Highlighting health sector as one of the priority requirements, he said, "Total resource budget of the National Health Mission, Assam, for current year is Rs 1,564.51 crore. Any intense and focused attempt of covering all tea gardens with health institutions and manpower requires a separate additional package beyond the general resource envelope."

"An amount of Rs 761.20 crore may be provided by the Centre for meeting the healthcare needs of the tea garden population, in addition to the regular NHM budget," the Chief Minister said. To improve schooling facilities in the tea garden areas, the state government has drawn up a comprehensive proposal amounting to Rs 188.77 crore, he said.

He requested the Centre to provide Rs 4,048.33 crore as additional allocation for construction of houses for 5,39,778 families of tea garden workers. He also sought Rs 34.80 crore for providing skill training to 10,000 youths from the tea garden areas.

For drinking water and sanitation sectors, Gogoi said "there is a need to construct 150 piped water supply schemes at the rate of Rs 75 lakh, for which a fund of Rs 112.50 crore may be provided."

He demanded an additional outlay of Rs 139.72 crore for accoding santitaion facilities to 1,16,445 households not covered by the 1,16,445 households, Gogoi said in the letter. "In addition, it is proposed to set up Community Sanitation Complex (CSC) in all 793 tea gardens and as Rs 237.90 crore was required for this purpose," he said. For setting up 266 additional aganwadi centres in the tea garden areas, the Centre should provide an additional Rs 27.23 crore.

PTI

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