The Assam branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Sunday said it is unsafe for doctors to work in the tea garden areas under the prevailing circumstances.
Officials working in Teok tea estate, where senior medical officer Deben Dutta, 73, had worked for over four decades, said the doctor had worked for the tea community tirelessly and with great dedication.
“He perhaps had a hand in most of the child delivery cases in the garden,” an official said. Police have picked up 21 people for interrogation in the killing of Dutta.
A graduate of Assam Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh, Dutta started his career at Teok in 1972. He is survived by his wife and two children.
President of the IMA Assam branch Satyajit Borah said it is indeed unsafe for doctors to work in the tea garden areas across the state in the prevailing circumstances.
“Dutta had worked for the tea community at Teok and it would not be wrong to say that he was killed by members of the tea community. I am shocked to find that organizations like the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha and others are not raising their voices against the incident,” he added.
An official of Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited said Dutta had worked in the organization at various levels “and was one of our best persons. He led the workers welfare program as the chief medical officer for more than a decade. He was very professional and efficient,” the official added.
A tea industry official said there is a shortage of doctors in the tea garden areas and such incidents will deter health professionals to join the tea industry.
The IMA’s Assam branch has announced an agitation program in protest against the incident. It has also called for a 24-hour withdrawal of medical services, excluding emergency, by doctors in health establishments on September 3.
Members of the IMA’s Assam branch will hand over a memorandum, seeking the safety of doctors in gardens to all administrative authorities on Monday.
On Tuesday, all doctors, accompanied by family members, will hold a candlelit procession to mourn Dutta’s demise. On Wednesday, a general meeting in all local branches of the IMA will be held.
The IMA said it has been calling for adequate security measures like the installation of surveillance cameras in all health establishments in the tea garden areas.
“Despite repeated appeals to all departments and authorities concerned, nothing has happened,” an IMA member said, adding that incidents of attacks on doctors are rising.
Updated by: News Sources 2019-09-02 6:11 PM