Three associations of tea planters in the Dooars, which has the highest concentration of tea estates in the north, have ordered all their member gardens to ban workers who have not received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The decision has been made to encourage those workers and their families who are reluctant to get vaccinated for the second time.
On Tuesday, the Dooars Branch of Indian Tea Association (DBITA), the Tea Association of India (TAI) and the Indian Tea Planters’ Association (ITPA) came up with the order, citing it was necessary for each worker to furnish the final certificate of their vaccination before resuming their duties.
In the Dooars, the DBITA has 88 member gardens, while the ITPA has 47 members and the TAI has 45 members.
In the tea gardens of north Bengal, Covid cases have remained comparatively low because every garden strictly adhered to the Covid protocols and the workers maintained hygiene and social distancing during their duties. According to planters, fewer Covid cases made many workers and their family members complacent of safety from Covid. “Many have not taken their second dose, despite vaccination camps,” said a senior planter.
“We have circulated the notice and want to confirm that every eligible individual in each garden is fully vaccinated. We have also approached the administrations of Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts to organise more camps in tea gardens to expedite the vaccination process,” said Sanjoy Bagchi, secretary, DBITA.
According to sources, out of the adult tea population of Dooars which is around six lakh, around 65 per cent of people have received both doses of the vaccine.