Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
We have evidence to show that a large proportion of tea garden labourers are infected with hookworm, the percentage of infection being highest amongst those coming from wet districts, like Malabar, although the Assam Government memorandum definitely asserts that hookworm infection is generally contracted on the gardens. Under certain conditions infection may be rapidly followed by hookworm disease. A number of managers, on the recommendation of their medical officers, have carried out annual mass treatment of their labour forces, and we recommend the general adoption of this method. With a resident labour force, no great difficulty need be anticipated. It is to be remembered, however, that even periodical mass treatment will not stamp out this infection, unless suitable latrine accommodation is provided simultaneously and the sanitary disposal of excreta effected. The provision and use of latrines ensures a much higher standard of sanitation, which is quickly reflected in a general improvement in the health of the whole community. In most plantation areas, however, latrines are uncommon, and although it may be impracticable to have these dotted over; a plantation for the use of the working gangs it should he possible to provide a sufficient number near the house lines and in the vicinity of the tea factory. In this connection we deprecate the wholesale exemption of the Assam and Bengal tea factories from compliance with section 13 of the Factories Act on the grounds that such factories are seasonal and built on open spaces where the workers have free access to the jungle. We advocate the early withdrawal of this exemption and recommend that adequate latrine accommodation be required in all such factories within a reasonable period to be specified by the local Government.