#India– Tea Gardens death and disease

Dhiren Malpaharia had a burn injury from before Durga Puja. The skin was gangrenous- so Pradipan (pradipan.slg@gmail.com) took him with Janaki Malpaharia to NBMCH for treatment. After the gangrenous skin was excised in early November he came back to the closed Dheklapara Tea Estate. The Rs 35 a day his relations earned was not enough. He was given Burnol for the ulcer. He died on the night of 4th December at Birpara State General Hospital. He deserved Universal Health Care. He deserved 100 days work at minimum wages. He deserved to be protected from his unjust employer by the courts and the administration. Mal Paharias are a sub group of the Paharia Community- only 100,0000 of whom survive in “Santal” Parganas. Some 25 Paharia families live among the 350 tea labourer housesn Dheklapara (Main Division)- a tea estate closed for 11 years. Another 250 tea labourer families live at Niparnia Division of the same TE. The neighbouring Bandapani TE is also closed

Dheklapara (Madarihat-Birpara, Jalpaiguri)
Visit 25th November 2012- They survive on Rs 35 a day!

Siliguri Welfare Organization and Peoples Health Forum organized a camp at Dheklapara Tea Estate Main Division from 11am to 3pm on Sunday 25th November. Uttar Banga Sambad and another organization had arranged for around 350 blankets and mosquito nets for the labourers. The Tea Workers Cooperative helped and a UTUC representative attended. There were around 25 volunteers from SWO and 4 doctors. We passed Sulkapara, Binnaguri and Ethelbari on our way (since we traveled via Sevoke and
Odlabari). Dheklapara is 9 km from Birpara. Niparnia is 3 km away from the Main Division.

Dr Debashis Mukherjee, Dr Prakash Baag and Dr Anita Mazumdar saw around 250 patients. Weight, height, age and names of all patients were recorded and BMI of all adults will be calculated. 4 health volunteers- one girl from Niparnia Division, Kunu Malpaharia, Rajib Malpaharia
and one other male volunteer from the Main Division- were identified. If
trained and supplied an infant weight machine they could (with the help of
Salter scales from the Anganwadis) take the weights of all children. There are an estimated 250 under 5 children in Niparnia and estimated 350 in the Main Division. The ANM attends the Dheklapara Dispensary on Fridays, Record keeping is excellent. Immunization is given, BP of pregnant women is taken.

This Tea Garden is in Bandapani Gram Panchayat (GP).
Recently the Bandapani Tea Estate also closed down. Earlier many worked in the Stone “jhalna”- sorting and loading at Rati River.
They earned Rs 250 or more there. The Cooperative gives them Rs 35 a day for Tea Plucking. Joy Birpara Tea Estate is functioning. The Health sub Centre is at Joy Birpara. Dim Dima Tea Estate has a CNI Primary School and Fatima High School run by catholics.

There are 25 Malpaharia families here.
There are also Malpaharias at Chunabati, Raipur,
Rayabari, Kathalguri, Totabari (near Banarhat)

Janaki Malpaharia is wife of Kunu. Her maiden name was Kahar.  She has an 11 year old daughter. She had 2 miscarriages. Most recent delivery was a girl 2 months ago who died and was not breastfed. Since then she can not walk and has “some irregularity in her periods”. After the MRI at AMRI (PPP connected to NBMCH) she was found to have narrowed spinal spaces. She has recovered to the point of sitting up. The treatment with Phenytoin has helped her. Apparently she has epilepsy. No CT scan done to look for tuberculoma or cysticercosis. Her Hemoglobin is 6.9 gm% and Total Count WBC is 3800/cu mm. No enlargement of spleen however. She has cough for one month. We advised Sputum for AFB. Maybe Gp Rh and VDRL need to be done later. She was given a mouth wash for halitosis.  She had urinary tract
infection as well.

Dhiren Malpaharia is 60 years old. He
fell and burnt himself before Durga Puja (October). There was near gangrene- his dead skin was removed at NBMCH. The large ulcer covers half his forearm and most of the upper arm. His elbow is stiff in a flexed position. The raw area is red and clean- but the piece of shirt covering it has marks and may not be clean. Advised silver sulphadiazine in preference to Burnol. Also clean gauze or other light cotton cloth to be changed every day.

Rajib Malpaharia who cycles to school at Birpara is in class 11. He had phimosis and was also operated at NBMCH.

We met the father of Jarain Nayek 23/F, unmarried, who died after 3 days of fever. They are originally from around Mayurbhanj/ Jamshedpur.

We visited the home of Urvashi Bedia daughter of Pradeep. She is 12 years old. They are originally from near Hazaribagh. About 4 months ago she stopped walking. This continued for 2 months. Now she can walk again. She is quite thin. She studies in class 6. She had pus discharge from her ears (CSOM). Her eyesight was also affected. Now she has swelling of the right knee for a week.

On the way back we stopped for lunch at Sangam Line Hotel. They have a stone sorter machine.

The Dheklapara Tea garden is closed for 11 years. There are around 700 families living here.

An old lady and her grand child live alone

Indo Tanti had Hemoglobin of 5 gm %.
She had her ECG taken. Death Certificate says Congestive Cardiac Failure. No X-Ray. Possibility of TB does not seem to be ruled out.

There has been Dengue recently in the area. There has also been proven Chikungunya.

Malaria is rampant.

Stone related work could lead to Silicosis in future- urgent need for Spirometry and follow up. At least 5 patients were referred for Sputum AFB.

Niparnia has a problem of elephants attacking houses

Debijhora Tea Estate (Chopra, U Dinajpur)
Visit 19th November
Break in Tea Gardens here is between 11.30 am and 1.30 pm. BMOH, second ANM Augustina Kullu and ASHA Sugandhi Baraik took me to meet 6 year old Prima Beck of Bohura Line who has Kala Azar on 20th November. Another family with a treated KA patient has relations in Manjha/ Betbari in Naxalbari Block (where PHN Krishnamoyee Bala is now posted). We heard that the first case was diagnosed by doctors in Kishanganj. There were 72 Oraon tribal patients (largest group in Bohura Line) last year out of 106 in Chopra. There were 74 more cases in the other 8 blocks of U Dinajpur. Bohura Line is on the border with Bangladesh and frequent cattle thefts occur. Only one family- from Azamgarh (near Gorakhpur) and Jaunpur (husband and wife) – still have cattle. Some people are working in Kakarvitta in Nepal and many in other areas (Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi) especially in plywood factories. There were a lot of pigs- but this has been done away with following
pressure from health workers. In another KA patient’s home we found a dehydrated old gentleman with one day history of diarrhea. We suggested he go to the Tea Estate dispensary for re-hydration. This family brews alcohol using gur [molasses]. Yesterday I read that there is cholera in one tea garden [probably in Jalpaiguri]

On the 16th October members of SWO, Forum for Peoples Health, APDR and Binayak from PUCL went to Gulma Tea Estate. Here 160 acres of common land- used for subsistence farming in the past- had been fenced off by the Tea Estate. They claimed that this land had been rented to them 30 years ago- though they had not used it in this period. Now they plan to turn it into real estate- possibly taking advantage of the river, rail line, and view of the mountains to build a tourist site or upper class residential colony (like Ambuja). They were harassing workers who opposed this land grab. We spoke to a worker Mr Samad and his wife (a nurse) who was cooperating with NAPM.


by- prabir chattreji


One fateful push- Dec 6

 – ‘Ek dhakka aur do ” Toppled many of our  smug assumptions

Bachi Karkaria 06 December 2012,TOI

 It`s still called ‘December 6’. America’s ‘9/11’ hadn`t yet changed the way we label momentous events, so no one talks of ‘6/12’, but it was arguably the first since ‘August 15’ or ‘June 26’ to make a date with calendar immortality. Sixteen years before 26/11, we had sat transfixed to the TV screen, and felt the clammy hand of future history. Trishul-brandishing kar sevaks smashing those domes to the hysterical chorus of instigation marked the triumph of Hindutva, which had rolled forth with L K Advani`s Toyota-turned-rath-turned juggernaut. It had crushed all the bleating opponents in its path – indignant `pseudo-secularists` and fearful minorities alike. Parsi me, a mere molecularity, what would i know of majority resurgence and its embarrassing cousin, betrayal?
Yet, far away, the reverberating crash of those totemic domes was felt in a Bombay still to become Mumbai, still foolishly cosmopolitan, still hopelessly obsessed with being the city of gold for all those willing to work hard at bettering their lives, regardless of caste, creed and class of birth. Indeed, we, so ostensibly far removed in space, time and mojo from that allegedly modern epic unfolding in Ayodhya, we felt it harder than many places closer to it, on all these counts.

We were hit by a not-known-before intensity of communal riots. More portentously, we became the country`s first urban killing field of RDX. And under that macabre pile-up of bodies and rubble, died the raison d`etre of Bombay. We still await the resurrection. That`s if anyone still hopes for it. Or even wants it.

To watch the fall of the Babri domes was to witness an iconic moment. Then, a more pedestrian thought bludgeoned our consciousness. The children were in a school in the predominantly Muslim Mazgaon area. We rushed to bring them home. But it was only a precautionary measure. Who would have thought how ferociously Ayodhya`s tidal wave would break on a seemingly communalism-neutral Bombay?

Coming from a Calcutta, which shut down fully during Durga Puja, i had been dismissive of this city where business shutters weren`t downed during the parallel Ganeshotsav. It was evident that the preferred Poojas were the nubile Bedi and Bhatt. Who would have imagined the communal insanity, which killed 900 people, and wasn`t tamed till January 5, 1993?

And who could have ever visualised the surreal image of Bombay`s power towers literally brought to their knees the following March 12, when 13 serial blasts shook the city, claiming 250 unsuspecting lives and injuring 700 within minutes.

As a journalist reporting on both, the riots and the blasts, it was a ghoulishly exciting time. Two cameos have stayed with me. That of a dazed greybeard clutching on to his caged parrot as he stood beneath the dusty oil painting of a Parsi worthy in the Dadar Parsi Colony`s Palamkot Hall; the wizened Muslim was among the petrified inmates of the nearby Muslim slum who had swarmed through its placid gates. And the equally incongruous image of three delicate tea-cups hanging intact from a kitchen rack in a Worli building blown apart in the blast.

As a human being, it was shaming. So many of our assumptions about Bombay were shattered along with those faraway domes. People i had known closely turned out to be unmitigated bigots just under their sophisticated skin. Hindu-Muslim couples found themselves socially split apart. And i still can`t forget how it utterly broke my proud friend Habiba Miranda when her grown-up boys requested her to let them take down the calligraphed blessing which had hung above their front door forever; they didn`t want to attract the attention of the vengeful mobs breaking into Bombay`s most exclusive buildings. Wealth, for the first time, was not a cordon sanitaire.


#DayaniBarla’s arrest: Civil society condemns Jharkhand Govt.’s vindictive move


RANCHI – The arrest of noted social activist Dayamani Barla has drawn sharp condemnation from across the civil society. Meanwhile, accusing Jharkhand Government of carrying out vindictive move against the social activist, various social and rights group have started campaigning for her release amidst the festive season of Durga Puja.

The Jharkhand Police arrested Barla the very day after she was granted bail by a JMFC court in a six-year old case. Now Police has charged her with scores of cases  in connection with causing obstruction to the construction of state-run institutions at Nagri village, 20 kms from here.

Barla has been leading the agitation against ongoing forceful land acquisition by the state government to build the Indian Institute of Management and National University for Study and Research in Law (NUSRL) campuses.

The bail application would be heard by the Court on 29 October.

“Government has hatched a conspiracy to keep Barla behind the bars for a long period; it is very evident by the way Police is functioning. They will slap more cases once against Barla once she gets the bail.” says senior journalist and social activist Faisal Anurag.

From the day she began fighting against the corporate giant Mittal, she has become the enemy of the all political parties and governments. The current Chief Minister, being a Dalaal (broker) of corporate companies, is hell-bent to sabotage the voice of activists, says Anurag.

“I met her in the prison yesterday. She is confident and determined to fight and face the consequences.” he said.

Barla was at the forefront of the agitation against Arcelor Mittal’s proposed steel plant in the state. The $8.9 million project spread over 12,000 acres would have displaced almost 70,000 people from 45 villages.

Gladson Dungdung, another noted activist and a member of Planning Commission of India also sees a conspiracy behind the arrest of Barla. “This is a conspiracy by the Government and arbitrary move by the police.”

He also said that the Government wants her to be in prison until the construction of proposed Law and Management campuses is over at Nagri, where agricultural land is being acquired done forcefully.

“If the Government is in impression that Barla’s arrest would weaken the people’s movement, it’s a fallacy.” he adds.

Several other social activists from across the country have condemned the arrest of Barla. They have demanded government to release Barla immediately and to withdraw all the cases against her.


Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists


Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel


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