Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launches scheme for pregnant women in tea gardens

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Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday launched a compensation scheme to bring down the mortality rate among pregnant women in tea garden areas of the state. Sonowal said Assams identity is synonymous with its tea, but the large working labour population in the tea gardens have not been given access to quality healthcare. The high maternal mortality ratio (MMR) among pregnant women in tea garden areas has been a major cause of worry, he said, adding, they have to work through their pregnancy till the time of delivery. To address this concern, the Wage Compensation Scheme for Pregnant Women has been launched to provide a total of Rs 12,000 to each pregnant woman working in the tea gardens, the CM said. An amount of over Rs 55 crore has been allotted in the states 2018-19 health Budget towards this scheme, which will benefit nearly 48,000 pregnant women of tea garden areas every year. All temporary, permanent or non-workers living within the tea garden premises will be eligible for the scheme, he said. He urged the women to use the compensation amount judiciously for having nutritious food for themselves and their babies. Sonowal also said the state government will provide mobile phones to line sardars (chiefs of labourers) for effectively giving feedback about various issues in their gardens. Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said tea gardens in the districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Sivasagar account for the highest number of maternal deaths in the state. He added that at least 500 girls from the tea community will be given free training on nursing in the coming year.