Land patta to tea tribe
Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal handing over land patta to a beneficiary in Jorhat. (File image)

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal was shown black flag by an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protestor during a programme of the CM at Jorhat.

Sonowal was present in a programme at Jorhat for laying the foundation stone of a primary health centre in Cinnamara tea estate on Monday.

An anti-CAA protestor held up a black flag at the venue of the meeting and shouted ‘Joi Aai Asom’ when Dibrugarh MP and union minister of state for food processing industries Rameswar Teli was delivering his speech?.

The chief minister and his entourage comprising Rajya Sabha MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, Lok Sabha MP Topon Gogoi, state commerce industry & industry minister Chandra Mohan Patowary and few other MLAs were on the dais at the time.

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The youth, identified as Pritam Talukdar, was immediately hustled out by the security personnel and was detained at Jorhat police station.

Two other members of AJYCP, Dimple Das and Dipankar Gogoi were also picked up for protesting at the venue and detained by Jorhat police.

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The helicopter of the CM landed in the ONGC Assam and Assam Arakan Basin complex at Cinnamara and his convoy avoided the main road to the venue at Dhubi Field inside the Cinnamara tea estate and used a little known road which led right to the venue.

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When the CM’s copter landed, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Asom Jatiyaytabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) activists staged a dharna in protest against CAA and burnt an effigy of Sonowal in front of the ONGC gate.

The AASU activists also strung up the effigy of the CM in a symbolic hanging in protest against CAA.

Former Congress MLA of Jorhat, Rana Goswami and Mariani Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi with a handful of Congress workers also staged a sit-in demonstration in front of the ATCL office at Cinnamara.

The CM gave a vivid description of how his government was helping to revive 15 sick ATCL gardens including Cinnamara tea estate and working for the welfare of the tea community at large.

He announced that the Cinnamara hospital would be upgraded to a state-of-the-art hospital and that Rs 1.76 crore had been sanctioned in this regard.

He also announced that apart from giving free rice to the workers, his government would also give 2 kg of free sugar to the workers from February next.

Sonowal said his government would preserve the bungalow in which the film ‘Chameli Memsaheb’ was shot at Cinnamara tea estate and also the site where Maniram Dewan, who was Assam’s first indigenous tea planter, had been buried.

Addressing the Sramik Samaroh at Cinnamara tea estate following the laying of the foundation stone, the CM said his government has adopted land policy, particularly to protect land rights of the indigenous people of the state.

Sonowal also said his government was carrying out a survey of ceiling surplus land of tea garden areas just to ascertain the quantum of land to be given to the people belonging to the tea tribe community.

He at the same time allayed the fear that the land survey is being done by the state government to sell the land to outsiders.

He maintained that land which originally belongs to the tea tribe community will remain with them.

Stating that health and happiness of the people of Assam are the responsibility of his government, Sonowal said in the coming days 15 PHCs would be set up in 15 tea gardens belonging to Assam Tea Corporation (ATC).

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: