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Assam, West Bengal lobby for top Tea Board post


UTPAL BORPUJARI | New Delhi, December 27, 2013 16:24
Tags : M G V K Bhanu | Tea Board | Assam | IAS officer | Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi | |

New Delhi, Dec 22: An interesting game of one-upmanship seems to be on the anvil between neighbours Assam and West Bengal in the high stakes game of leading the Tea Board of India, with incumbent chairman M G V K Bhanu being recalled to Assam.

Bhanu, and Assam-Meghalaya cadre IAS officer of the 1985 batch, is leaving his tenure as the Tea Board chairman three years before his five-year term expires as Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is believed to have expressed his desire to have the “high-performance” officer back to take up an important responsibility in the state administration.

Bhanu attended his last meeting of the Tea Board as chairman on December 23 in Tezpur, Assam, already the Assam and West Bengal state governments are believed to be lobbying hard to have their own cadre official in the top post.
While Assam is pressing for a state cadre IAS official with the logic that it must get the post since of Bhanu’s tenure – an Assam official’s tenure – nearly three years still remain, West Bengal is believed to be demanding the post as after Bhanu, it would be the turn of the state to head the Tea Board.

The Union Commerce Ministry, sources told this correspondent, is weighing the options before it and is expected to announce the next chairman’s name shortly. The Ministry has already relieved Bhanu from his responsibilities with the Tea Board.

Bhanu leaves at a time when in just two years as the chairman, he left a clear imprint on the Tea Board’s functioning with his no-nonsense style of functioning. Before being appointed to the post, he had served as a special adviser to the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, the late Y S Rajashekhara Reddy.

Assam Chief Minister Gogoi, sources close to him said, had been wanting Bhanu to be repatriated to the state as he wanted to use his administrative experience to give a sense of purpose to the state administration. However, the exact post that would be given to Bhanu still remains in the realm of speculation.

Bhanu has chosen not to comment on the speculations regarding his next posting while expressing his satisfaction about the functioning of the Tea Board. The industry too is quite satisfied with his tenure with North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) chairman commenting in an interview that “the tea industry will remember him for years to come as a person who can think differently”. He initiated a lot of exceptional measures for taking the Indian tea industry to the next level.”

"The author's views are personal and do not represent the views of the organisation."

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017