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For the first time in more than 180 years, high schools will start functioning in Assam's tea estates from today, May 10. In 2020, the Assam government had established the State-Owned Priority Development fund to set up 119 model high schools in strategically-located tea estates. The State PWD was entrusted with constructing these schools at the cost of RS.1.19 crore each. In the 2017-18 state budget, the government proposed setting up 200 tea garden schools, of which 97 will start this session. The remaining 22 schools are in various stages of construction and are expected to become functional by the next academic session, Firstpost reported.
Moreover, the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led Assam government will set up another 81 model high schools in tea garden areas and the newly-established Model High Schools will be upgraded to Higher Secondary Schools.
In 75 years of India's independence, it is for the first time that high schools will start functioning in Assam's tea estates. Workers in Assam's tea gardens are mostly Adivasis from the Chota Nagpur plateau region, who were brought to the area by Britishers as indentured workers in the 19th century. Even though they are considered a crucial vote bank, the 'Tea Tribes' have led isolated, marginalised lives in the gardens for many generations.