* CM urges tea industry to break into new markets
* SITA to conduct study on Tocklai Tea Research Institute
GUWAHATI, Sept 20: A bank that became bankrupt during the Congress regime in Assam in the nineties is set to be revived during the present BJP tenure.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday gave his nod to the proposal of State Innovation and Transformation Aayog (SITA) to revive the Assam State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development (ASCARD) Bank. Sonowal’s approval came during the governing body meeting of SITA held at Janata Bhawan.
Asserting that after demonetization there is an increased need for bank branches at remote areas to transfer government scheme benefits to the beneficiaries, Sonowal said that the State Government entities like ASCARD must be revived after thoroughly considering its feasibility and outstanding liabilities.
The ASCARD Bank set up with the sole objective in the early nineties to give loans to the farmers and the rural populace had become bankrupt after the financial institution started giving loans to the tune of several crores to non-farmers like businessmen, politicians and others under the influence of then Congress regime in the State.
During the Thursday’s meeting, Sonowal also reviewed the proposal of SITA to conduct study on Tocklai Tea Research Institute. He said that the research centre must aspire to become one of the best in the world providing cutting edge solutions to tea industry for increased production and quality maintenance.
The Chief Minister said that the tea sector must incorporate the best practices from around the world from tea producing countries like Sri Lanka, Kenya etc. and incorporate those practices to break into newer markets for Assam tea and reclaim the glory of the tea industry here.
Sonowal also directed SITA to find ways to popularise cultivation and consumption of local seasonal fruit varieties for their high nutrient contents. Referring to Prime Minister’s vision to develop Northeast as an organic hub, Sonowal urged SITA to conduct study to develop the organic agricultural field in the State. The proposals for conducting study on muga rearing, producing renewable energy and utilising bioengineering technologies to tackle river bank erosion were discussed among others.
Water Resource Minister Keshab Mahanta, Vice Chairman of SITA Dipok Kumar Borthakur, Legal Adviser to the Chief Minister Shantanu Bharali, Chief Secretary Alok Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sanjay Lohia were also present in the Thursday’s meeting.