JORHAT, March 26 � The acquisition of the tea garden area by the government to set up the proposed National Institute of Design (NID) here has been protested vehemently by the tea garden workers of Tocklai Tea Estate. The tea garden workers of Tocklai Tea Estate tried to acquire the land from the government forcefully today following which a hostile situation ensued at that place. Earlier the workers had given a deadline to the government to stop acquisition of the garden area for the proposed institute. The deadline had passed today.
This morning thousands of the local people and tea garden workers came out and tried to take the acquired land for NID in their possession again by putting up bamboo fencing around the area. The police present there tried to stop them and a hostile situation arose. Then the assembled public started shouting slogans against the government.
As the situation became critical, the Additional Deputy Commissioner (revenue), Dhiren Hazarika arrived at the scene and spoke to the agitators. Following the discussion, the district administration declared that all the activities to set up the NID there would be suspended till April 2, 2012.
On the other hand, the protesters announced that nobody would be allowed to enter the disputed area. Otherwise the Jorhat district administration would be the solely responsible for any untoward incidents that may occur.
It is worth mentioning here that government acquired 93 bighas, 1 katha and 17 lechas of land of the Tocklai Tea Estate to set up the second NID of the country. Earlier on February 19, 2011 the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone of the institute at the proposed site. But in course of time, the procedure became critical as some tea garden workers protested against the land acquisition authority and resolved not to give the land in which they have been dwelling for generations.
Chah Shramik Mukti Sangram Samiti and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti have been conducting protest programmes against the acquisition of land of the tea garden for which thousands of families would become homeless and jobless.