GUWAHATI: The Tea Association of India (TAI) has said stringent legal provisions will deter attacks on doctors and bolster the morale of medical officers working in the tea industry.
The TAI has condemned the fatal assault on Dr Deben Dutta at Teok Tea Estate in Assam's Jorhat district.
In a statement issued on Friday, TAI Secretary-General PK Bhattacharjee said, "This incident and another assault on a medical officer in Dikom Tea Estate have shaken the morale of tea garden executives, not to speak of medical officers working in the plantations, many of whom have resigned since Dr Dutta's death."
Bhattacharjee said the Assam Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2011 has not acted as a deterrent against such attacks.
"The central government has conceptualised a bill to address this problem. It has reportedly been sent to the state governments to seek their views on it," he said.
Bhattacharjee said the new bill will make an assault on doctors a major offence.
"Strict legal provisions, such as hefty fines and imprisonment for assault on doctors, can act as deterrent against attack on doctors and bolster the morale of tea garden medical officers," he said.
Dr Deben Dutta succumbed to his injuries on August 31 after being assaulted allegedly by workers of the Teok Tea Estate following the death of one of the garden workers at a hospital in the plantation.
Doctors in the state had gone on a 24-hour strike on September 3 to protest the assault. More than 30 people have been arrested for their alleged links to the assault.