Malnutrition claims 3 lives in tea garden

JALPAIGURI: Three residents, including a three-year-old girl, of the closed down Kumalai Tea Estate have fallen prey to malnutrition over the past 48 hours. While Rita Oraon (53) died on Monday, Sumita Bhokta (25) and Sumian Oraon died on Tuesday.

It has been clearly stated in the victims’ death certificates that they died of acute anaemia which is a direct fallout of malnutrition, said sources. Rita lived in the garden’s Neora line, while Sumita and Sumian lived in the Nayakaman settlement.

Two women tea garden workers and a three-year-old girl died of malnutrition in the closed Kumlai Tea Estate in Jalpaiguri’s Malbazar since Monday. While Rita Oraon, 53 died on Monday, Sumita Bhokta, 25, and three-year-old Sumian Oraon died on Tuesday. Their death certificates state that they died of anaemia due to malnutrition. Rita lived in the garden’s Neora line while Sumita and Sumian lived in its Nayakaman settlement.

The garden has been closed for a over month now after its management abandoned the place following labour unrest. Though the state government had convened tripartite meetings several times since the closure, the management hasn’t bothered to attend any didn’t attend any of them.

Local sources said that about 1,100 workers of the tea garden were living in penury ever since the with no wages and rations ever since production was stopped a month ago. Their wages have been discontinued and they do not have the means to buy food. Moreover, the WBSEDCL has disconnected electricity supply to the garden as the management failed to didn’t pay the its power bills.

Malbazar SDO Narayan Chandra Biswas visited the garden on Tuesday along with relief department staff. The administration has also opened a medical camp to conduct health check-up on workers. Another tripartite meeting has been convened on Friday and the management has been asked to attend it. “The problem of malnutrition among workers will end only when the garden reopens,” said Biswas.

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