DIBRUGARH, May 11 - The management of Dikom Tea estate today called off the lockout following the second round of conciliation meeting at the Office of the Assistant Labour Commissioner here, wherein the workers and the unions assured the management to ensure safety and security of the medical officers and other managerial staff of the garden besides also assisting in bringing the culprits to book.
Assam Branch of Indian Tea Association (ABITA) particularly lauded the effort of the district administration and the police in getting some 17 persons arrested in connection with the incident. The management agreed to resume operations at the tea estate from May 13, 2019.
It must be mentioned here that on May 6, a mob of about 300 people comprising workers, non- workers and outsiders, assembled in front of the Dikom tea estate hospital and brutally assaulted the estate medical officer and the pharmacist and also illegally confined them for more than a couple of hours until police rescued them and rushed them to hospital given the grievous nature of injuries suffered by them. The mob had gathered at the hospital premises after one woman worker died when a tree fell on her during the storm at around 2:45 pm. She was immediately rushed to the garden hospital and thereafter to Assam Medical College & Hospital (AMCH) but unfortunately she succumbed to her injuries.
The mob had even confined the Superintendent Manager of the estate for about four hours. The Superintendent Manager was also subjected to threats, abuse and humiliation. The protesting crowd had damaged window panes and doors of the hospital also in the aftermath of the unfortunate death that day.
Madhurjya Barooah, secretary, ABITA, Zone 1 said that the woman worker was a victim of a natural calamity and the doctor or the managerial staff was not at all responsible for it. He expressed concern over the growing intolerance of the workers and other residents of the estate and on taking law into their hands especially in relation to estate hospital doctors and paramedical staff. Only a few months back, the Medical Officer of Sepon tea estate was assaulted, he said.
“Given the overall hostile scenario, the medical officers are not willing to serve in the tea estate and already amongst our membership; only about 50% of the estates have a full time residential doctor. Finding no other alternative, a few estates have employed the services of part- time doctors. In case the situation does not improve and resident medical officers do not feel safe in the estates, the situation is bound to worsen particularly with regard to medical care in the estates,” said Barooah.