No-show at tea festival sparks off row, minister upset

JALPAIGURI, Jan. 4: The state backward class development minister Mr Jogesh Barman criticised the RSP and the Congress led Alipurduar municipality today, for staying away from the recently held Tea festival in the town.

“The festival authority duly sent the official invitations to both the civic body and the RSP. They are indulging in arrant falsehood while denying having received a formal invitation,” he said.

“There might have been some confusion in the Congress circles regarding the invitation. As far as the formalities are concerned, we have done everything, ” he said. He hoped that there would be no such confusion regarding the upcoming Dooars Tea Festival scheduled to start on 6 January in Alipurdooar.

“I am groping for reasons thinking why the important Left Front constituent has boycotted the festival. The minister, Mr Manohar Tirkey and the Alipurduar MP Mr Joachim Buxla were scheduled to attend the inaugural ceremony. Yet they have not attended. This should not have happened as the festival happens to be a congregation for exchanging idea regarding the predicament of the tea industry in the region,” the minister said.

Ridiculing the minister's allegation Mr Dipto Chatterjee the chairman of Alipurduar civic body said that the leader was playing a dubious political game with the municipality. “The organisers flouted the rule as they organised the fair without having taken prior permission from the civic authority. We allowed the fair keeping in view the interest of the flagging tea industry. Now, with the fair being over, we may think in terms of taking legal action,” Mr Chatterjee said.

The district secretary of RSP Mr Sunil Banik said that his party had been ignored in organising the programme in contravention of the Left Front norms. “The one- upmanship game should stop as the interest of thousands of tea workers is involved in the matter,” the RSP leader said.

From The Statesman