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Japanese encephalitis: Health ministry rushing expert team to Assam

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BJP Nadda

 

New Delhi: The union health ministry is rushing an expert team to Assam following an outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in the state, it was announced on Saturday.

Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda held a review meeting of ministry officials over the issue and directed the director general of health services to immediately rush a team of experts to Assam to assist and advise the state health authorities in clinical management of the cases, according to an official statement issued here.

“All the necessary assistance is being provided to the state of Assam to handle this outbreak effectively,” Nadda said.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and whatever additional help is required would be provided with immediate effect.”

According to Nadda, ministry officials were in regular touch with the state health authorities.

“Sufficient number of testing kits have already been provided to the state,” he said.

The additional director of the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme is camping in Assam since July 22.

According to the statement, the ministry has already sanctioned funds for establishment of three pediatric intensive care units (ICUs) in district hospitals in Sivasagar, Golaghat and Lakhimpur and the health minister has advised the state government to operationalise these ICUs immediately.

In all, 365 Japanese encephalitis positive cases and 66 deaths have been reported from Assam so far this year.

More deaths have been reported from the upper Assam districts of Sivasagar (9), Dibrugarh (7), Jorhat (7) and Golaghat (4).

During the review meeting, it was also learnt that the majority of the victims were adults.

Twelve districts of Assam, including Sivasagar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Golaghat have been covered under the adult vaccination campaign.

All the districts of the state have also been covered under the child (one to 15 years) vaccination campaign and routine immunization program.

(IANS)

 

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Tea Body of Assam Slam ‘Chaiwala’ Modi

The tea labourers of Assam live in the most deplorable conditions without some of the basic amenities, Gowala said

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Assam tea body slam 'chaiwala' Modi,

The largest tea body of Assam on Sunday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who often refer to himself as a “chaiwala”, for not being considerate towards the state’s tea garden workers’ plight and urged him to implement the promised minimum wage of Rs 350 before the new year starts.

The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) General Secretary Rupesh Gowala said while Modi often refers to himself as a “chaiwala”, he is yet make good on his promises towards a million tea garden labourers in the state in the last four years.

“Before the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, Modi addressed several rallies in Assam and assured that the tea garden labourers would be paid a minimum wage of Rs 350 per day,” Gowala said.

“If this happens, the 10,00,000 tea garden labourers will lose Rs 30 each day for two months. Is it a “chaiwala” Prime Minister who is doing this to his own community?” said Gowala.

The tea garden workers in Brahmaputra Valley in Assam are presently drawing Rs 167 per day while the tea garden workers in Barak Valley are getting Rs 145 per day.

“The existing wage agreement between the Assam government and the ACMS and other tea workers bodies expired on December 31, 2017.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

“The government had announced an interim hike of Rs 30 per day. The tea garden labourers are supposed to get this interim hike from January 1, 2018, but the government is saying the hike will apply from March 1, 2018.

“This would make them lose Rs 30 per day for two months,” he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Assam is yet to fix that minimum wage, Gowala said, urging Modi to announce the promised Rs 350 per day minimum wage before 2019.

Gowala said the condition of all those tea gardens run by the Assam government was far worse.

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“While the labourers in company-owned garden are receiving a wage of Rs. 167 per day now, the 26,000 workers under the 14 gardens of state-owned Assam Tea Company Limited (ATCL) are receiving a wage of Rs 115 only per day,” he said.

Assam has over 800 medium and large size tea gardens that produces over 50 per cent of the country’s total tea produce.

The tea labourers of Assam live in the most deplorable conditions without some of the basic amenities, Gowala said. (IANS)