GUWAHATI, Dec 4 - The State has a total of 800 tea gardens under the Plantation Labours Act, 1951, and these gardens have 434 hospitals and 584 dispensaries amongst them. While every garden has provision for appointment of doctors, only 279 have doctors at present.
Of the eight authorized posts of health inspectors for tea gardens meant for supervising their healthcare scenario, only six have been lying vacant for 6 to 10 years. Only two posts have functionaries.
Stating this in the Assembly while replying to a question by Congress legislator Durga Bhumij today, Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Naba Kumar Doley said that the tea gardens were directed from time to time to appoint doctors and that legal actions had been initiated against 35 tea gardens.
Earlier, raising the issue during Zero Hour, Bhumij said that the healthcare scenario in the tea gardens is in a deplorable state due to the laxity of the State government in enforcing the relevant norms.
The Minister, while giving an account of the steps taken by the government for improving the healthcare services in the gardens, said that amenities like mobile healthcare vans together with free distribution of medicine were being made available to the garden workers.
Doctors have been appointed in the tea gardens under the Assam Tea Corporation (ATC), he added.