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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

7 doctors posted in tea estates in Assam resign fearing security

There are also reports of doctors in some tea gardens abstaining from work.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2019 09:43 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Doctors staging a dharna at GMCH in Guwahati on Tuesday, protesting against the brutal killing of Dr. Deben Dutta at Teok tea estate.
Doctors staging a dharna at GMCH in Guwahati on Tuesday, protesting against the brutal killing of Dr. Deben Dutta at Teok tea estate. (ANI Photo)
         

Healthcare services in Assam’s tea gardens, which are not the best during normal times, have now worsened further following resignations tendered by several doctors after a 73-year-old doctor, Deben Dutta was lynched by an angry mob of workers in Jorhat.

Dutta, who was posted at Teok Tea Estate in Jorhat district, was killed last Saturday by an angry mob after the death of a 35-year-old worker in the garden’s hospital.

Since his death, 7 doctors posted in various tea garden hospitals have tendered their resignations citing security threat from workers in these tea estates. There are also reports of doctors in some tea gardens abstaining from work.

“The working conditions of tea gardens has deteriorated in recent times and doctors working in their hospitals are also not safe. Dutta’s death in a glaring example of that,” said Nabin Phukan, a senior doctor who resigned from his post in Mekipur Tea Estate in Sibsagar district on Wednesday.

Earlier this year in May, Prabin Chandra Thakur, a doctor posted at Dikom Tea Estate in Dibrugarh district suffered several broken bones and fractured ribs after he was thrashed by a mob following death of a woman worker who was injured when a tree fell on her during a storm.

“As per our information 7 doctors have resigned following Dutta’s death. Even before his death, I am aware 2-3 cases of doctors resigning from tea garden hospitals in past 3 months due to fears about their safety,” said Hemanga Baishya, secretary of Assam unit of Indian Medical Association.

“There’s no sense of security in tea garden hospitals. Doctors work under threats, if someone dies usually lot of workers gather and create commotion alleging negligence by a doctor or other such issues,” he said.

Doctors across Assam abstained from work on September 3 as a mark of protest. The Assam unit of IMA requested the government to improve security measures in tea gardens. Similar representation has been sent to Assam Branch of Indian Tea Association (ABITA).

Police in Jorhat have arrested 32 persons till date in connection with Dutta’s murder. On Wednesday, Assam government announced that the trial of the murder would take place in a fast track court while ordering an inquiry into the killing.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had a telephone conversation with the widow of the slain doctor and assured strict action against those who take law in their hands.

A survey conducted in 2014-15 by the union ministry of health and family welfare had found that hospitals run by tea estate management were present in 649 of the 850 tea gardens in the state and the status of healthcare in them was unsatisfactory.

Last year, the state’s BJP-run government had mooted a plan to takeover tea garden hospitals to that healthcare facilities can be bought at par with other government hospitals.