GUWAHATI, July 12 - Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has urged Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce & Industry Nirmala Sitharaman to initiate measures to transfer the subject �Tea� from the Union List to the State List in the Constitution of India.
In a letter to Sitharaman, Gogoi said the State governments can better address the issues relating to the tea sector compared to the Central government.
�As you are aware, tea was one of the major export earners at the time of Independence. However, a lot of developments have taken place during the last 65 years and now, compared to the Central government, state governments can better address the issues relating to this sector,� said Gogoi.
The Chief Minister said the enlistment of �Tea� as a State subject would be in the larger interest of the people, particularly the labourers engaged in the tea industry.
In another letter to the Union Minister, Gogoi called for steps to withdraw the notification regarding sale of 70 per cent of tea manufactured by the bought leaf factories (BLFs) through public auction system.
Gogoi said that the notification dated April 15, 2015, issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was �discriminatory and violative of the right to equality as provided in the Constitution of India as it has been made applicable only to BLFs and not to estate gardens.�
Gogoi said the State government was of the firm opinion that implementation of the notification would cause immense hardships to the BLFs as the sale of their produce through public auction would fetch them lesser prices, besides causing delay of 5-6 weeks in receipt of the sale proceeds, thus further jeopardising the viability of their business.
�We are of the opinion that the implementation of the notification will be detrimental to the interests of small tea growers and lead to enormous losses,� he added.