Lockdown | Open tea gardens but maintain social distance: Mamata

Bengal Chief Minister to attend video conference with Prime Minister on April 11

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday gave the nod to tea gardens to open but urged the planters to maintain social distance.

“People in the gardens usually maintain distance. But I will ask that only 15% of workers be allowed at one time. Social distancing should be strictly maintained,” Ms. Banerjee said at a meeting called at the Secretariat where the representatives of different industries were present.

Three days ago Ms. Banerjee referred to a proposal by the Centre to open the gardens but said workers are scared because of the outbreak of the pandemic. There are over 200 tea gardens in north Bengal which support more than 2.5 lakh workers. They have remained closed since the last week of March following the announcement of the lockdown.

The first flush harvested in March and the second in May are the source of biggest revenue for the gardens, particularly those located in Darjeeling. During the meeting, representatives of the industry urged the Chief Minister to give some relaxations. Ms. Banerjee suggested that proposals for such relaxations be made to the Chief Secretary.

The Chief Minister said 12 new COVID-19 cases had been found in the past 24 hours. Three persons have recovered and the number of active cases remains at 80. The official bulletin has said the number of deaths remained at five. The State government has tested 1,889 so far. There are seven testing centres and the number of COVID-19 hospitals is 61. Reports emerged that an official of the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) has tested positive for the viral infection. Members of the taskforce visited the NBMCH and said the patients with infection would not be treated there but at separate isolated medical facilities in north Bengal.


Ms. Banerjee said she would attend the video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 11 on the measures to tackle the pandemic. “There is a meeting on April 11. I have also been invited. I will see how the discussion unfolds. We will give our opinion,” Ms. Banerjee said. On Wednesday, she had said she was yet to hear officially from the Centre about the scheduled video conference.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:40:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/lockdown-open-tea-gardens-but-maintain-social-distance-mamata/article31303896.ece

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