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Form monitoring cells to inspect social distancing norms in tea gardens, Assam CM asks DCs

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GUWAHATI: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal asked the Deputy Commissioners to constitute monitoring cells which will be exclusively mandated to inspect the social distancing norms including health and hygiene protocols of the workers engaged in the tea gardens.

Considering the importance of tea in the economic health of the state as well as in the country, though some tea gardens were allowed to resume their functioning with minimum work force, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal stressed on adequate social distancing norms for the tea gardens in the changing socio-economic landscape emanated in the aftermath of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the state.

Visiting Biswanath district on Thursday to assess the preparedness of the district to deal with COVID 19 epidemic in the state, Sonowal asked the Deputy Commissioner to create conducive working environment for the tea workers in Biswanath district for enabling the tea industry to aid state’s growth in the corona affected atmosphere.

Sonowal also asked the DC to constitute monitoring cells which will be exclusively mandated to inspect the social distancing norms including health and hygiene protocols of the workers engaged in the tea gardens in Biswanath district.

He also asked the DC to ensure that during the extended lockdown period the nine thousand small tea growers do not have to face any encumbrances to pursue their tea-related activities including carrying the plucked leaves to the factories.

Sonowal said that following the advisories of the Centre, State government has taken all necessary steps to enforce the extended lockdown to contain and control COVID 19 outbreak. During this time though regulated permissions were granted to resume agricultural activities; utmost care should be taken to monitor health and well being of the farmers.

He also maintained that though farmers would be engaged in agricultural activities, they should be in a position to use tractors, power tillers etc to reduce human involvement and increase social distancing.

Stating the Central government’s report of identifying the 32 districts of Assam as high and moderate COVID 19 infection prone areas, Sonowal urged upon everybody to remain alert and take all steps to thwart the spread of virus.

Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers Association (GTABA) welcomed the Assam Governments decision to allow Guwahati Tea Aunction Center (GTAC) and it’s constituents to resume their offices and operate in Auctions.

GTABA stated this will help all the seller members who want to sell their tea’s immediately at GTAC. GTABA stated that this will be very helpful to reduce their cash crunch and solve their problem of cash liquidity to some extent.

Dinesh Bihani, Secretary GTABA said, “Regarding price front we think market will open with strong demand and firm prices and might be on dearer rates because last two months there is hardly any tea’s sold in Auctions. At present the pipeline is empty and until the full-fledged production has starts prices may be on a higher side. Hope that tea producers will make good quality tea so they get strong demand and better realization”.

Dipanjol Deka, Secretary TAI Assam Branch added, “A very welcome decision by the Assam Government to start the auction. It will give the much needed relief to the cash starved tea industry who was not able to sell the teas produced before the lockdown and also the current produce”.

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