Swami Agnivesh writes to Assam CM on starvation deaths in Bhuvan valley

Silchar, 4 February: New Delhi based noted social activist Swami Agnivesh wrote to Chief Minister of Assam Shri Tarun Gogoi on 3 February regarding the incidents of starvation deaths in Bhuvan valley tea garden in Cachar district demanding immediate actions to address the situation. Enclosing the fact-finding report on the hunger situation faced by the tea labourers of the now-closed tea garden released on 1 February by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) the former member of Team Anna wrote it is ‘a very disturbing report about tea garden poor laboures in conditions of starvation deaths and very poor working conditions – denied wages for months, absence of other benefits etc.’ He urged the CM to ‘look into the report and address the situation with all the urgency at his command.’

The fact-finding report of the BHRPC reveals that the recent deaths of 11 labourers are due to starvation, malnutrition and inaccessibility of the labouerers to the medical services. It also states that the conditions of at least 5 others are so bad that it would be hard for them to survive a month without urgent medical and nutritional intervention. The report concludes that arbitrary and exploitative actions of both the estate management and government drove about three thousand labourers and their families on the verge of starvation. The management abruptly closed the garden on 8 October, 2011 without paying wages due for 9 weeks, dues from provident fund and other benefits and alternative livelihood. The government public distribution system (PDS) and health care facilities are conspicuous by their absence. It expressed concern that without urgent and substantial intervention reports of deaths will keep coming.

BHRPC expects urgent actions on the part of the CM to save the precious human lives in danger of elimination due to huger, malnutrition and lack medical treatment.

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