Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who has bigger responsibilities to attend to pertaining to development activities of the State, was again subjected to an unproductive ceremony on Monday.
This time, it was courtesy State Health Department.
Sonowal on Monday was the chief guest at the ceremonial launching of ‘Wage Compensation Scheme for Pregnant Women of Tea Garden Areas of Assam’.
Believe it or not, there were only four beneficiaries present at the ceremony to receive the wage compensation in a programme held with all the grandeur at the Srimanta Sankardeva International Auditorium of Kalakshetra in Guwahati costing the state exchequer quite a few lakhs of rupees.
And these four pregnant women were made to travel all the way to Guwahati to receive the wage compensation risking their lives.
Doctors advice pregnant women to be very careful, keeping in view the possible health complications that may happen due to travelling during pregnancy.
But, the concerned authorities of the State Government including those managing the Chief Minister’s itinerary have exhibited their sheer callousness, literally taking these pregnant women of the tea garden areas for a ride.
All the four pregnant women of Gopal Krishna Tea Garden in Morigaon district, travelled all the distance of around 51 km and back again just for the programme.
These four women – Lakhi Chettri, Lalita Pakaria, Sukurmoni Pakaria and Sunita Besera – received an of Rs 12000 each during the programme.
A prominent gynecologist from Guwahati, who refused to be named, said, this is indeed a risky matter considering the deplorable road condition from Morigaon to Jagiroad.
The question here arises whether the concerned authorities of the State Government were aware about the medical restrictions on travelling during pregnancy which may cause severe health complications.
Concerned circles have also raised questions whether the concerned authority including those managing Chief Minister’s programme schedule has cognizance of the maternal mortality rate in Assam which is 300 per one lakh women against pan India average of 167 as stated by Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey in February this year.
Ironically, addressing the inauguration programme, State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has himself acknowledged, “Maternal mortality rate in the tea garden areas is not decreasing and it is a matter of concern.”
If the Health Minister was right then what was the logic to bring those four pregnant women from a distance of 51 km to felicitate them publicly in Guwahati.