GUWAHATI: Growing insecurity has made seven doctors, who were employed in Assam’s different tea gardens, to quit their jobs.
The insecurity heightened after a mob of tea garden workers lynched a 73-year-old doctor, Deben Dutta, at Teok Tea Estate in Upper Assam’s Jorhat district last week. What led to the attack was the death of a patient, Somra Majhi, at the garden hospital.
There have been several cases of assault on doctors and health workers in the tea gardens. Ensuring security to the fraternity has been a long-standing demand of various organisations of the doctors.
The Assam Medical Service Association (AMSA) said the seven doctors had resigned as they feared for their lives.
“We had a talk with some of them. They said they resigned as they were feeling insecure serving in the gardens after the incident in Teok,” AMSA president, Dr. Paresh Kalita, told this newspaper.
Its general secretary, Dr. Kanak Chandra Talukdar, said the resignations of the doctors would largely affect healthcare services in the gardens where they worked.
“Earlier, they (employees) availed of healthcare facilities in their gardens. Now, they have to go elsewhere,” Talukdar said.
He said insecurity among doctors and health workers increased after the killing of Dutta who had served in the garden for decades. He said given what happened, it was natural that doctors, employed in the tea gardens, would feel threatened.
“The government had said it would ensure security for doctors and health workers at the garden hospitals but those resigned were not convinced. They probably weighed joblessness with insecurity and eventually, took a decision to quit. Their families must have also pressurized them to quit,” Talukdar said.
He insisted that the various organisations of the tea garden workers and their community work towards changing the mindset of people.
“They (workers) are backward educationally. Their mindset has to be changed. I feel the organisations of the tea garden workers have to come forward. The management of the tea gardens also has a role to play,” Talukdar added.
The rate of illiteracy is very high among people belonging to Assam’s “Tea Tribe” community. Witch-hunting, a social malaise, is also common among them. Doctors, who have served in tea gardens, say the workers easily get agitated when somebody dies in garden hospitals.