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The first meeting of the expert committee constituted by the Assam Government at the initiative of Deepok Kumar Barthakur, vice-chairman, State Innovation and Transformation Aayog (SITA), Assam was held on Monday, an official statement issued on Tuesday informed.

The meeting discussed at length to make a study on the issues relating to the tea industry of the State as well as Tocklai Tea Research Centre at Jorhat which was held at the conference hall of Assam Agricultural University, Khanapara Campus, Guwahati under the chairmanship of Dr Mridul Hazarika, vice chancellor of Gauhati University.

The meeting also discussed the various challenges faced by the tea industry and Tocklai Tea Research Centre. It also deliberated about the various modalities as to how to proceed to arrive at suitable recommendation. Since the two term of reference are independent of each other, the committee is of the view that separate approach will have to be adopted to comprehend and analyse them suitably.

After a threadbare discussion on the relevant points, the meeting has decided to first approach the Tocklai Tea Research Centre at Jorhat to get first hand information on their problems.

It also decided to meet both station and outstation officials of the industry and tea boards from Bengal, Tripura and Kolkota. The Committee also felt that before submission of report to the Government through SITA, Assam, it decided to meet the secretary of Industry and Commerce, Government of India and vice-chairman of NITI Aayog to apprise them of the entire situation and the probable solution.

The meeting was attended by Dr K M Bujarbaruah, vice chancellor, Assam Agriculture University, Jorhat and member, Kailash Kartik, joint secretary, Finance Department & member, Umananda Doley, secretary, Industries and Commerce Department & member and by K K Nath, chief executive officer, SITA, Assam & member secretary.

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