Quarantine for the five migrant workers, who walked several kilometers from Nagaland to reach their home at Lohpohia Tea Estate in upper Assam’s Jorhat on Tuesday evening translated into a living hell.
With the district administration not willing to take them to a proper isolation facility and the tea estate unprepared to lodge them, the five who walked miles after crossing the Assam- Nagaland border at Mariani in Jorhat district have been left to languish for the next 12 days in the filthiest of conditions.
The manager in charge of Lohpohia tea estate, Makhan Sharma said that the team sent by the district administration had conducted medical tests of the five, who had been put up at an abandoned office of the estate.
“We were unprepared for their arrival and had to put them up there as other workers objected to them being lodged with their respective families here in the lines or in any house in the workers lines,” he said.
Sharma said that the rooms in the abandoned office building would be cleaned up tomorrow.
He further said that the garden hospital could not be transformed into a quarantine centre as other patients were going there for treatment.
“The isolation facility had only two beds and was attached to the nurses’ quarters,” he further said.
Sharma said that the administration has refused to take them to the quarantine facility at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital due to scarcity of beds.
Unbeknown to the district administration five workers had crossed the Assam Nagaland border at Mariani and walked about 25 kms to reach the Lohpohia tea estate on the Western outskirts of the district on Tuesday evening.
Their arrival resulted in a hue and cry among the workers of the garden who reportedly did not allow them to reside with their respective families and kept them in a dilapidated building at the estate.
An Assam Tea Tribes Students Association (ATTSA) office bearer alleged that the district administration had ignored them after being informed about the matter soon after their arrival.
“If they are kept for long in such a deplorable condition, they will fall sick very soon,” said an ATTSA leader.
Rubul Ali, officer in charge of Pulibar police station under which Lohpoia tea estate falls, said that as soon as he had been intimated about this by someone on Thursday a team of security personnel accompanied by a sector magistrate, and a medical team, had visited the place.
Additional deputy commissioner Bipul Das affirmed that the workers had been quarantined at the estate itself.
The migrant workers had gone to Nagaland to working in coal mining there and had their parents or wives residing at the estate.