In Assam, making tea is a community enterprise. While parents pluck or work in the factory, children attend tea estate schools or play sports in tea estate sports fields. Families live in houses constructed and maintained by tea companies. When people get sick, the first doctor that visits is from the estate hospital.
Chota Tingrai Tea Estate itself is home to 367 families, situated in two villages. Additionally, we have a hospital, two schools, two soccer fields, a church, a mosque, and several Hindu shrines. Indian plantation law requires us with the maintenance of these structures, and the general welfare of our workers.
Most of the year of workers pluck or process tea, and the rain prohibits repairs. Therefore, we also complete most of our community maintenance and upgrades during the dry days of the cold season. Specifically, we conduct:
Roof Repair: Roofs develop leaks regularly during the heavy rains of the spring, summer, and fall. Our roof repair team never gets a break from patching up holes during these times. Cold season provides an opportunity to make more extensive repairs, getting ahead on preventative maintenance.
Bathroom upgrade and repair: Cold season also presents an opportunity to repair bathrooms. Like roofs, bathrooms break due to the wear-and-tear of everyday use. We repair many every year. And many are over 20 years old, making it difficult to keep up with all the units in need of repair.
BUT this year we have decided to start replacing these old bathrooms. We have researched for over a year to find the right toilet for the heavy rains of Assam, but we have finally found it.
While these new bathrooms will not eliminate the need for repair, they help us provide a hygienic, more comfortable life for our workers. Best part, we can install them in a day!
A new bathroom in Chota Tingrai Village
Drain upgrade and repair: Existing drains are currently made of earth like those in the garden. Because these drains are heavily trafficked by people, goats, cows, chickens, and pigs, we must repair these drains every year.
Obviously, repairing these drains annual costs considerable money. They also often break during the rainy season, creating a mess in the worker’s village. Therefore, we are in the process of upgrading the drain to a more permanent solution.
A new concrete drain at Borbeta Village in Chota Tingrai Tea Estate
- New house construction: Many of our worker houses are due for replacement. We are taking the opportunity that cold season provides to construct new housing for our workers. Such a large infrastructure project will take many years for us to complete. We are constructing two units this year per a new design that promotes a healthy interior environment.
Our welfare team works day in and day out, keeping a track of construction progress, materials required, and quality of work being done by the masons and carpenters. Avantika checks in with the them daily to ensure that the work stays on track.
While this may sound like a lot of work, it is extremely important for us individually and as a company to ensure that our workers have a happy and healthy community in which to live.