GUWAHATI, July 7 � Both the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) and the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba-Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) have demanded appointment of an Assam officer as the chairman of the Tea Board. They have also demanded shifting of the Tea Board headquarters to the State without any further delay.
The AASU and the AJYCP have been reacting to the news reports on the Union Commerce Ministry�s recommendation to the Prime Minister�s Office the name of a West Bengal cadre IAS officer for the post of the Tea Board chairman.
It needs mention here that the Union Commerce Ministry, going against the convention, has recommended to the PMO appointment of the West Bengal cadre IAS officer Sudesh Kumar Das against the post, which is lying vacant since the elapse of the term of the West Bengal cadre IAS officer Basudeb Banerjee. This time it was the turn of an Assam cadre IAS officer to assume the charge of the Tea Board chairman.
It needs mention here that the above convention was the result of a compromise formula to dissuade the people of the State from the demand for shifting of the Tea Board headquarters from Kolkata to Assam.
Speaking to this newspaper, AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya said that the chairman of the Tea Board should either be from Assam or he or she should be an Assam cadre IAS officer. If a West Bengal cadre IAS officer can be appointed as the chairman of the Tea Board then what has prevented the Union Government from appointing an Assam cadre officer against the post, he wondered.
In fact, Assam has the legitimate right to claim the post permanently, as, it is the largest tea producing state and the small tea gardens are also proliferating in Assam in a unique manner, he said.
Further, he said, the Tea Board headquarters and the registered offices of the tea companies, which have their tea estates in Assam, should also be located in Assam. There is no valid reason to keep the registered offices of these tea companies in Kolkata, he said.
The Assam Government and its political head Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi should mount enough pressure on the Central Government not to buckle to the pressure from the West Bengal lobby.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is representing Assam and who is also a leading economist of the country, should take urgent steps to deliver justice to Assam, said Bhattacharyya.
AJYCP general secretary Manoj Barua told this newspaper that the AJYCP opposes the Union Commerce Ministry�s decision on the issue. This time�s process for appointment of the Tea Board chairman should be reviewed to facilitate appointment of one Assam cadre IAS officer against the post, Barua said.
Further, he said, �We also demand a Union Government decision favouring shifting of the Tea Board headquarters to Assam and reservation of the Tea Board chairman�s post permanently for Assam, considering its contribution to the total tea output of the country,� said the AJYCP general secretary.