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Ex-Assam CM set to resign assembly seat

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Himanta-Biswa-Sharma-Resign

New Delhi: Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had recently quit Congress to join BJP announced on Saturday that he will soon be resigning from his state assembly seat.

“I will resign from my seat in the assembly in a day or two after returning to Assam,” Sarma told the media here after leading a group of 10 MLAs, including nine from the state’s ruling Congress, to meet Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah at his residence.

Sarma held the state’s health and education portfolios and quit his ministerial post in July last year after a major fallout with Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. Sarma was once seen as Gogoi’s blue-eyed boy.

Stating that the fall of the Gogoi-led Congress government was certain in next year’s assembly elections in the state, Sarma said: “We don’t want to defeat Gogoi by playing the game of numbers. Not MLAs but the people of Assam will bring about the downfall of the Gogoi government.”

He also referred to Gogoi’s remarks on Friday that it was difficult for the state government to fight the ongoing wave of devastating floods in Assam alone due to lack of funds.

“Since he is citing lack of funds as the reason for failing to fight the flood situation, then let there be a government that can have funds,” the former minister said.

Regarding Saturday’s meeting with Shah, Sarma said that since the BJP president expressed his desire to meet the 10 MLAs, he them brought along.

The 10 MLAs were:  Jayantamalla Barua, Pijush Hazarika, Pallablochan Das, Bolin Chetia, Kripanath Malla, Binanda Saikia, Pradan Barua, Rajen Borthakur, Abu Taher Bepari (all from the Congress), and Dwipen Pathak (from the Trinamool Congress).

Sarma also claimed that in the days to come, as many as 500 NSUI, Youth Congress and district-level Congress workers would soon join the BJP.

“They will be joining batch by batch. We have to take into consideration the sentiments of the long-serving BJP workers and ensure that they do not get hurt,” he said.

Sarma was elected in 2011 to the state assembly from the prestigious Jalukbari seat by a record margin of nearly 78,000 votes.

Speaking to the media after the meeting with Shah, Jayantamalla Barua said that he and the accompanying MLAs would be joining the BJP soon.

“We will soon join the BJP officially at a suitable time. We will ensure that the party’s Mission 84 (winning 84 of the state’s 126 assembly seats) is successful,” he said.

(With inputs from IANS)

 

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Assam Tea Growers Start No Sickles Campaign to Ensure the Overall Quality of Assam Tea

During the last 35 years there has been a huge increase in the land area under tea cultivation

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Although Assam tea is known worldwide for its quality due to hand plucking of 'two leaves and a bud', some of the gardens have resorted to harvesting tea leaves. Pixabay

To ensure the overall quality of Assam tea, the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has started a ‘No sickles’ campaign among the tea gardens of Assam.

Although Assam tea is known worldwide for its quality due to hand plucking of ‘two leaves and a bud’, some of the gardens have resorted to harvesting tea leaves with sickles (which is popularly known as kasi) affecting the quality of the tea.

Chairman of NETA, Nepul Saikia said this on Wednesday while adding that the organization has started the campaign “Say NA to Kasi for tea harvesting” from today and added that the campaign is basically to bring awareness amongst the tea producers not to use sickles during harvesting of tea leaves.

He said that during the last 35 years there has been a huge increase in the land area under tea cultivation. In 1990, Assam’s tea production was only 388 million kgs which has grown to 692 million kgs in 2018.

Assam, Tea Growers, Sickles
To ensure the overall quality of Assam tea, the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has started a ‘No sickles’ campaign. Pixabay

“There has been an increase of about 300 million kgs in 28 years which is about 80 per cent increase in production in 2018 compared to 1990 figures. However, there is a shortage of workers in peak cropping months – July, August, September and October. To overcome the shortage of workers some growers have resorted to harvesting tea leaves with sickles,” he said adding that the tea leaves harvested with sickles are of very poor quality and this is one of the major reasons for the quality failure of Assam tea.

“As per the latest Tea Board figures, about 49 per cent of tea produced in Assam is from the green tea leaves by small tea growers. Though a majority of small tea growers do not use sickles throughout the year we have started this campaign before it is too late”, said Saikia.

“This campaign is to basically bring awareness amongst tea growers on the harvesting of quality tea and also to bring the attention of policymakers in providing growers with substitutes like shears, battery operated plucking machines and one/two men operated harvesting machines”, said Bidyananda Barkakoty, Adviser NETA.

The Tea Board has a field mechanization scheme of 25 per cent subsidy on plucking and pruning machines for general category and 100 per cent subsidy for SC & ST. “This scheme can be further popularized amongst the growers and subsidy amount should be increased to 75 per cent for general category”, Barkakoty added.

Also Read- India: Government to Help Develop Required Skill Sets Needed By Industries Across the Spectrum

“A Guwahati-based investor is developing a plucking machine with an Israeli technique and we are expecting a prototype of it in October. This plucking machine which is in the designing stage now will help in selective harvesting of tea leaves similar to hand plucking”, he added. (IANS)