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Panel suggests restructuring of Tocklai Tea Research Institute

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, Dec 25 - Noting the �progressive lowering of the importance of the institution due to the present management structure�, government constituted committee headed by the former Vice-Chancellor of Gauhati University Dr Mridul Hazarika has suggested complete restructuring of the prestigious Jorhat-based Tocklai Tea Research Institute.

The committee, in its report submitted to the Chief Minister said that at present �there is no control� within the institution, with adhocism ruling the roost.

Citing that the institute had a centralized power in Kolkata, the committee underlined the need to bring about administrative reforms and �pending any change the State government should take some control� if the identity of the institution had to be retained.

�Others cannot realize the importance of the institution. That is why the role of the State government is very important to keep the 108-year-old oldest and largest such institute in the world alive,� a member of the committee said.

The committee also suggested that the Tocklai Tea Estate which was incurring heavy losses should be taken back by ATCL as the Borbhetta Tea Estate was enough for experimental purpose of the institution. The Tocklai garden was taken on an �unregistered lease� by the institute way back.

The committee further suggested regular special audit of the institution, capacity building of the manpower etc.

According to the Ferguson Report � a study done more than a decade back � there ought to have been 145-150 scientific officers in the institute. However, at present, there are only 34 of them, thereby bringing down the scale of research. The committee as such has suggested �right-sizing� of the manpower.

The annual budget of the institute is around Rs 26 crore, of which a whopping 80 per cent goes in the salary component. Of the total budget, 49 per cent was being given by Central government and the rest comes from the industry, but the funding formula keeps changing.

The Central allocation � which used to come for five heads, including salary, PF, gratuity, training and medical, had been going down since 2012. The present backlog under these five heads, including salary, is over Rs 10 crore. The total backlog, including the research component, is around Rs 40 crore. Last year, the Central government released only Rs 5 crore.

The Dr Hazarika led six-member committee was constituted in April to look into the problems and issues affecting the performances of tea industry in the State and diminishing role of Tocklai Tea Research Institute.

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Panel suggests restructuring of Tocklai Tea Research Institute

GUWAHATI, Dec 25 - Noting the �progressive lowering of the importance of the institution due to the present management structure�, government constituted committee headed by the former Vice-Chancellor of Gauhati University Dr Mridul Hazarika has suggested complete restructuring of the prestigious Jorhat-based Tocklai Tea Research Institute.

The committee, in its report submitted to the Chief Minister said that at present �there is no control� within the institution, with adhocism ruling the roost.

Citing that the institute had a centralized power in Kolkata, the committee underlined the need to bring about administrative reforms and �pending any change the State government should take some control� if the identity of the institution had to be retained.

�Others cannot realize the importance of the institution. That is why the role of the State government is very important to keep the 108-year-old oldest and largest such institute in the world alive,� a member of the committee said.

The committee also suggested that the Tocklai Tea Estate which was incurring heavy losses should be taken back by ATCL as the Borbhetta Tea Estate was enough for experimental purpose of the institution. The Tocklai garden was taken on an �unregistered lease� by the institute way back.

The committee further suggested regular special audit of the institution, capacity building of the manpower etc.

According to the Ferguson Report � a study done more than a decade back � there ought to have been 145-150 scientific officers in the institute. However, at present, there are only 34 of them, thereby bringing down the scale of research. The committee as such has suggested �right-sizing� of the manpower.

The annual budget of the institute is around Rs 26 crore, of which a whopping 80 per cent goes in the salary component. Of the total budget, 49 per cent was being given by Central government and the rest comes from the industry, but the funding formula keeps changing.

The Central allocation � which used to come for five heads, including salary, PF, gratuity, training and medical, had been going down since 2012. The present backlog under these five heads, including salary, is over Rs 10 crore. The total backlog, including the research component, is around Rs 40 crore. Last year, the Central government released only Rs 5 crore.

The Dr Hazarika led six-member committee was constituted in April to look into the problems and issues affecting the performances of tea industry in the State and diminishing role of Tocklai Tea Research Institute.