The tea gardens in upper Assam have witnessed a massive spike in Covid-19 positive cases during the one last week.
Over 500 workers in tea gardens have been infected by the deadly virus, health officials said.
According to the officials, till Saturday, at least 503 tea garden workers at many estates in 14 districts have tested positive for the infection.
These districts are — Dibrugarh, Biswanath, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Golaghat, Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Udalguri, Charaideo, Kamrup (Metro), Baksa, Darang, Dhemaji and Sivasagar.
The North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has urged the state government to urgently organize vaccination camps in the tea estates.
In a letter to the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, and in separate letters to all the 34 Deputy Commissioners, NETA has requested to protect the tea garden population from the second wave of the pandemic by organizing vaccination camps urgently in the tea gardens.
NETA adviser Bidyananda Barkakoty said that two tea estates in Dibrugarh district have been declared containment zones, recently.
“Last year, the tea gardens did not face such problems like this time. Therefore, before things go beyond control, setting-up up vaccination camps in the tea gardens is of utmost importance. NETA has assured to fully cooperate with the government in organising the vaccination camps,” Barkakoty said.
The industry body has also undertaken a massive awareness campaign among the workers and their family members to check the spread of the disease.
Tea estates have a large concentration of workers and were until recently largely unaffected by Covid-19.
The industry body, the Tea Association of India (TAI), had earlier said that the crop prospect in the current season in Assam and West Bengal looks bleak due to the drought-like situation prevailing in both states.
TAI Secretary-General P.K. Bhattacharya had said that due to the prolonged period of lockdown, the tea industry in Assam and Bengal lost around 140 million kg of made tea last year.
Assam has over 10 lakh tea garden workers working in 850 tea estates.