TMC alleges tea board head quarters being shifted to Guwahati
One of the top most issues raised by members in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday was the alleged shifting of Tea Board headquarters from Kolkata to Guwahati and a demand for setting up a High Court in Andhra Pradesh. Vivek Gupta (TMC) raised the issue of the alleged move to shift Tea Board headquarters to Guwahati after the BJP came to power in Assam, likening the move to “chopping off the hands” of Kolkata. He further added that Kolkata has not just been a sea port for movement of tea but also a tea auction house, and that any move to shift the headquarters would result in loss of jobs.
Raising the issue during Special Mention in Rajya Sabha, Vivek Gupta said that tea is one of the industries, which by an Act of Parliament, comes under the control of the Union Government. “The genesis of the Tea Board of India dates back to 1903, when the Indian Tea Cess Bill was passed. The present Tea Board, set up under Section 4 of the Tea Act, 1953, was constituted on April 1, 1954,” he said.
Gupta also alleged, “Since its inception, the Tea Board has been located in Kolkata. “But recently, what we are seeing is that the employees are being harassed; they are being shifted in batches to other offices; they are being made to wait compulsorily. This is the alleged move because a new party has come to power in Assam; it is trying to favour Guwahati.”
Assam Congress MP Bhubaneswar Kalita however welcomed the decision saying that the demand isn’t new. ““Since 80 per cent of the tea is produced in Assam, the Tea Board headquarters should be located in the State,” he said opposing the West Bengal MP’s demand.