| The Assam Tea Corporation office in Jorhat. File picture |
Guwahati, June 28: The Assam Tea Corporation Limited is “heading towards doom” because of mismanagement and Dispur’s apathetic attitude, ATCL chairman Rameswar Dhanowar said today.
Dhanowar said he did not have the administrative and financial power to run and revive the corporation according to his plans. He alleged that ATCL officials and employees were not co-operating with him because of political pressure.
Dhanowar, an MLA from Digboi constituency in Tinsukia district, was appointed as ATCL’s chairman by the state government in April last year. ATCL is a wholly owned Assam government public sector undertaking. Established in 1972, the corporation comprises 15 tea estates spread over 14,000 hectares of prime land scattered over six districts, both in Brahmaputra and Barak valleys.
“Soon after I was appointed as the ATCL chairman, I sought the status reports of all 15 gardens. Though the managers of the gardens were interested in giving the reports, the management of ATCL did not come forward to do the same. Thus I was kept in the dark about the status. But I constituted a fact-finding committee on May 29 last year. The committee members, including me, visited all the gardens and found that there was complete mismanagement and lack of professionalism in running the estates,” Dhanowar told reporters here this morning.
He said it had been found that there was a loss of 1,55,42,097kg in harvesting green leaves in the ATCL gardens between 2005 and 2013. Such production loss has resulted in the loss of a revenue of Rs 3,57,46,823.
“Chief minister Tarun Gogoi who took the initiative to constitute ATCL is not aware of such a negative development in the corporation. Industry minister Pradyut Bordoloi has taken a very casual approach to address the problems faced by the ATCL. Under such circumstances I can only say that if corrective measures are not taken to streamline the functioning of ATCL at the earliest, it will soon face closure,” he added.
Dhanowar said he would soon bring the matter to the notice of the chief minister.
There are over 15,000 permanent workers and over 10,000 temporary workers in the ATCL estates.