The Bharatiya Janata Party has reached out to the sizeable tea tribe community of Assam with the promise of developing educational infrastructure in tea gardens, ahead of next year’s assembly election.
Addressing the party’s tea tribe wing meeting in Jorhat, Assam cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said that it is time to recognize the tea tribe as “proud Assamese”.
“On 1st and 2nd November across Assam, we will start the construction of 119 high school buildings in tea garden areas. This has been a long-standing demand of the tea tribe community and we will fulfill it,” he said.
“Each school would cost around Rs 1.50 crore and in total, the state government would be spending Rs 300 crores on this project. We want to empower the tea tribe,” Mr Sarma added.
The state government has also decided to reserve 10 per cent seats in government colleges in tea garden belts of the state, he said.
“It felt bad to see that after over 70 years of Independence, inside the tea gardens, in the labour lines, there were no roads, no high schools. Women folk did not have bank accounts. Now over 7 lakhs tea garden workers have been brought under financial inclusion through Jan Dhan accounts,” he said.
He also took a swipe at the Muslim community without naming it, saying divisions in Assamese society on caste and community lines have provided an opportunity for the political, social and cultural expansion of a community that now makes for 35 per cent of Assam’s population.
The Muslims make 35 per cent of Assam’s population. Mr Sarma, in his public meeting, has been urging the rest 65 per cent people to unite.
Elections to the state assembly are due in April, 2021.