Guwahati, 23 February: Two more people died in the Bhuvan valley tea garden
of Assam, a tea estate owned by a Kolkata based private company, raising
the toll of poverty to 12. Barak Human Rights Protection Committee
(BHRPC) received information that Belbati Bauri died on 18 February and
Jogendra Bauri died on 22 February in the garden where, according to the BHRPC
fact-finding report issued on 1
http://bhrpc.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/hungeralert1/), 10 people died
allegedly due to starvation, malnutrition and lack of medical care during
the 4 months period from 8 October 2011 to 8 February 2012 when the garden
remained closed and the workers abandoned by the owners.
Belbati Bauri (told to be of about 70 to 75), wife of late Debendra Bauri,
was a former labourer of the tea estate and a resident of North Bank
Division (Didarkhush) of the Bhuvan valley tea estate in Cachar district.
BHRPC members visited her on 27 January and again on 9 February. The team
found her very ill, week, pale. After both the visit the BHRPC reported her
condition. But authorities did not provide any medical help or food
support. Although her son Sricharan Bauri was a permanent labourer in the
estate, he was not getting any ration, medicine or wages for last six
months. Ironically they were regarded as being above poverty line (APL)
family, and therefore, were not eligible for government schemes meant for
the poor. According to them, other support provided by the Public
Distribution System (PDS) did not reach to them properly. Other members of
the family, including a young girl Moni Bauri, are trying to survive by
collecting firewood from jungle and selling them for food and medicine
ignoring study. Belbati left five other people in the family.
Jugendra Bauri (aged between 55 to 60), S/o Indra Bauri, was also a
resident of North Bank Division. He was also a labourer of the garden. He
told the BHRPC team when they met him on 9 February that he had been
suffering from asthma for some time. He looked very weak and pale. Lately
he host appetite and his body became swollen. He left behind him his
wife Malati Baori (55), son Rajib Baori (25) and 3 daughters.
BHRPC team met 43 sick people on 9 February in 3 divisions out of the total
10 divisions in the garden who were in need of urgent medical and
Although the garden has been re-opened on 9 February after the BHRPC
reported the deaths, the authorities have still not taken any positive
actions in terms of providing urgent medical and food support, improving
working conditions, improving implementation of government welfare schemes
and PDS or fixing responsibilities for the situation and payment of
compensation to the kin and dependents of the deceased.
More over, it is reported that the owners have not yet appointed a
permanent manager to the garden. The owners during their negotiation
meetings with the Cachar district administration and the workers' union,
had promised that a permanent manager would be appointed to run the garden.
Apart from this, they had promised to revive the garden hospital and reopen
the factory. But it's sad that even now no such steps were taken.