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Many TEs adorned city areas in the past

By Ajit Patowary

GUWAHATI, March 9 � For many of the present day Guwahatians it may sound bizarre that there were many tea estates (TEs) in and around Guwahati in the remote past. In many parts of the present city there were tea estates mostly owned by the indigenous people. The biggest among those TEs was Chunchali TE and it was owned by a British gentleman PC Domren. This TE was established in 1859. Part of this TE area was acquired to set up the Guwahati Refinery and its residential colonies, said writer Kumudeswar Hazarika, an expert on old Guwahati matters.

Hazarika, who was talking to this correspondent, said Domren�s first wife, who was an English lady died at the Chunchali TE and he later married a local woman. Domren took the Chunchali Grant, measuring about 5,000 bighas of land, on lease from the government for 99 years. The TE was wound up around 1950.

The bungalow of Domren is still there near the residential quarter of the Guwahati Refinery General Manager. It was situated on a compound of 75 bighas of land. A major part of the TE land, including the bungalow land, is now occupied by other people.

Chunchali also had a branch garden. It was named Tepesia and it was located near Sonapur. This TE is now the location of the Assam Don Bosco University campus.

Near Chandrapur, there were four TEs. However, they were smaller in size. Those TEs were Chandrapur TE, Panikhaiti TE, Lonamati TE and Mitani TE.

Chandrapur TE belonged to Rai Saheb Chidananda Choudhury of Panbazar, a prominent Assamese businessman. Several industries later came up on the plot of land belonging to this TE.

The Panikhaiti, Lonamati and Mitani TEs were owned by Manik Chandra Barooah and Anundoram Dhekial Phookun�s son Annadaram Dhekial Phookun. Their company was named Barooah Phookun Brothers. The company had its own vessel to carry their tea and timber to Calcutta (Kolkata). The vessel was named Barooah Bahadur.

But unfortunately, the vessel sank in the Padma river in one of its Calcutta-bound voyages. Together with this, the untimely death of Annadaram Dhekial Phookun, the first company set up as per the European model, died a premature death around 1880.

Due to health problems, Manik Chandra Barooah also abandoned the Lonamati, Panikhaiti and Mitani TEs and purchased a small TE located on the Kharghuli Hill from a British tea planter named Cambell in the early part of the 20th century. It was named Latasil TE. This TE faced closure following his death in around 1915. The Raj Bhawan of the State is located on a part of the land belonging to this TE. The factory of the TE was located at the site where the residence of Prof Birinchi Kumar Barua�s family is located now.

Adjacent to Latasil TE, there was a TE named Ramsa Hill TE. It belonged to Rai Bahadur Krishna Chandra Choudhury of Uzanbazar. This TE was closed a few years back.

There were two more TEs � Basistha and Woodland. The Guwahati Central Military Hospital is located on a part of Basistha TE land. This TE was owned by Rai Bahadur Mahendra Mohan Lahiri�s family of Fancy Bazar. It was closed down one or two years after Independence.

Woodland TE was located on the present day Santipur Hillside and its contiguous Fatasil Hill. This TE occupied a vast area of today�s Santipur. It belonged to the Saraswati family of Panbazar. Their family firm Radhakishor Saraswati & Co was the fist company to introduce Assam silk outside the State. Woodland TE was virtually closed down before the World War II, that is, in the mid-1920s.

However, the first TE of undivided Kamrup district was set up on a hillock near Nagarbera in the early 1850s by Rai Saheb Chidananda Choudhury of Panbazar. But as the soil of the area was found unfit for tea plantation, the venture was abandoned, said the noted writer.

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Many TEs adorned city areas in the past

GUWAHATI, March 9 � For many of the present day Guwahatians it may sound bizarre that there were many tea estates (TEs) in and around Guwahati in the remote past. In many parts of the present city there were tea estates mostly owned by the indigenous people. The biggest among those TEs was Chunchali TE and it was owned by a British gentleman PC Domren. This TE was established in 1859. Part of this TE area was acquired to set up the Guwahati Refinery and its residential colonies, said writer Kumudeswar Hazarika, an expert on old Guwahati matters.

Hazarika, who was talking to this correspondent, said Domren�s first wife, who was an English lady died at the Chunchali TE and he later married a local woman. Domren took the Chunchali Grant, measuring about 5,000 bighas of land, on lease from the government for 99 years. The TE was wound up around 1950.

The bungalow of Domren is still there near the residential quarter of the Guwahati Refinery General Manager. It was situated on a compound of 75 bighas of land. A major part of the TE land, including the bungalow land, is now occupied by other people.

Chunchali also had a branch garden. It was named Tepesia and it was located near Sonapur. This TE is now the location of the Assam Don Bosco University campus.

Near Chandrapur, there were four TEs. However, they were smaller in size. Those TEs were Chandrapur TE, Panikhaiti TE, Lonamati TE and Mitani TE.

Chandrapur TE belonged to Rai Saheb Chidananda Choudhury of Panbazar, a prominent Assamese businessman. Several industries later came up on the plot of land belonging to this TE.

The Panikhaiti, Lonamati and Mitani TEs were owned by Manik Chandra Barooah and Anundoram Dhekial Phookun�s son Annadaram Dhekial Phookun. Their company was named Barooah Phookun Brothers. The company had its own vessel to carry their tea and timber to Calcutta (Kolkata). The vessel was named Barooah Bahadur.

But unfortunately, the vessel sank in the Padma river in one of its Calcutta-bound voyages. Together with this, the untimely death of Annadaram Dhekial Phookun, the first company set up as per the European model, died a premature death around 1880.

Due to health problems, Manik Chandra Barooah also abandoned the Lonamati, Panikhaiti and Mitani TEs and purchased a small TE located on the Kharghuli Hill from a British tea planter named Cambell in the early part of the 20th century. It was named Latasil TE. This TE faced closure following his death in around 1915. The Raj Bhawan of the State is located on a part of the land belonging to this TE. The factory of the TE was located at the site where the residence of Prof Birinchi Kumar Barua�s family is located now.

Adjacent to Latasil TE, there was a TE named Ramsa Hill TE. It belonged to Rai Bahadur Krishna Chandra Choudhury of Uzanbazar. This TE was closed a few years back.

There were two more TEs � Basistha and Woodland. The Guwahati Central Military Hospital is located on a part of Basistha TE land. This TE was owned by Rai Bahadur Mahendra Mohan Lahiri�s family of Fancy Bazar. It was closed down one or two years after Independence.

Woodland TE was located on the present day Santipur Hillside and its contiguous Fatasil Hill. This TE occupied a vast area of today�s Santipur. It belonged to the Saraswati family of Panbazar. Their family firm Radhakishor Saraswati & Co was the fist company to introduce Assam silk outside the State. Woodland TE was virtually closed down before the World War II, that is, in the mid-1920s.

However, the first TE of undivided Kamrup district was set up on a hillock near Nagarbera in the early 1850s by Rai Saheb Chidananda Choudhury of Panbazar. But as the soil of the area was found unfit for tea plantation, the venture was abandoned, said the noted writer.