Tezpur (Assam): A government college in Assam’s Sonitpur district has engaged its poor students to work in a tea garden on the campus during free time, helping them earn money and pay for their education.

Spread over 33 acres of land at Karchantola in Nanduar area near Jamugurihat town, Tyagbir Hem Baruah College is endowed with a tea garden, besides a fishery, banana groves and lemon plants.

“Mainly poor students from nearby areas work in the tea garden during off periods and earn around Rs 35-40 per hour by plucking leaves. This is part of a skill development initiative but we haven’t taken any government aid for it,” college principal Ajit Hazarika told PTI.

Tea cultivation on the college premises was started in 2015 on around 14 bighas (4.63 acres) and expanded to another 8 bighas (2.64 acres) in 2019.

The college sells green leaves from the tea garden to nearby factories and earns around Rs 1.85 lakh a year, he said.

“We want our students to be doubly benefited in the college study and also earn using their skills,” Hazarika said.

The college has produced green tea for the first time and launched the product in nearby local markets on June 1. It is being produced on four bighas (1.32 acres) in the tea garden.

The product is being sold at Rs 225 for a 100 gm packet and Rs 130 for a 50 gm one.

A heritage college established in 1963, the institution under Gauhati University has around 2,200 students in Arts and Science streams, the principal said.

As per the college website, it has a total of 74 employees, including 48 teachers.

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