FROM OUR Correspondent
Silchar, Aug 2: Sontosh Mohan Dev, a veteran politician, was first elected to the Parliament in 1980, the first of his seven terms in office as the Member of Parliament. Out of these seven, he has represented Silchar five times and was elected from Tripura twice. Dev has the rare distinction of being elected from two different states. During his political career as an elected representative, Dev has held crucial Cabinet and non Cabinet posts. Dev had represented India in the Population Conference held in Chi in 1982 and was a member of the Indian Parliamentary Delegation to Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference at Isle of Man in 1984.
Dev was the Union Minister of State for Tourism and Communications during 1986-1988 and the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs during 1988-1989. He also held the charge of Union Minister of State for Steel (Independent Charge) in 1991. Dev was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1980 from Silchar constituency in Assam. Subsequently, he was re-elected to Lok Sabha in 1984 from Silchar constituency and in 1989 and 1991 from Tripura West constituency.
Dev was again elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996, 1999 and 2004 from Silchar constituency. Dev was Chairman, Public Accounts Committee during 1990-1991 and was a member of the Parliamentary Committee of General Purpose Committee. He was also member of Tea Board during 1981-83. Between 1999-2004 Dev held various parliamentary responsibilities including being the Chairman of Committee on Energy, Member of House Committee and Member of General Purposes Committee. Sontosh Mohan Dev lost to Kabindra Purkayastha of the BJP in the 2009 elections for the 15th Lok Sabha.
During the period 2005 to 2009, he was the Minister of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises in the Union Cabinet. His tenure saw the fruition of a comprehensive automotive policy that will shape the Indian auto industry in the decades to come. This period also saw the ratiolization of Public sector wages. This brought employees of government run companies closer to the levels of their private counterparts and drastically reduced the exodus of talented magers and executives. His other salient achievements include, the deregulation of steel in the mid 1990s as minister of steel which unshackled potential of the indigenous steel industry making India a global steel powerhouse.
Dev was also instrumental in setting up a tiol university in Silchar, Assam. He played a key role in the freight equalization scheme in the early 1990s in India which removed unequal rail freight charges among the states, thereby making them more competitive. Sontosh Mohan Dev is a third generation Congressman. His father was one of the first legislators of independent India. His grandfather Kali Mohan Dev was also an active member of the Indian freedom struggle and a member of the first ever Silchar Municipal council in 1913. He was the chairman of Silchar Municipal Board during the years 1979-1985.