Guwahati, Friday, August 2, 2013
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Hemen Barooah’s death condoled
STAFF Reporter
 GUWAHATI, Aug 1 – The last rites of iconic tea planter Hemendra Prasad Barooah will be performed in Bangkok on Sunday next as per his desire. According to the Kolkata office of Barooah and Associates, the company owned by the tea industry great, Barooah has left a written instruction for his last rites to be performed at the place of his death if he dies in a foreign country.

 But Barooah had kept his samadhi ready at Thengal Manor, his ancestral house at Thengal in Jorhat district. It has hence become obligatory to bring his ashes to Thengal Manor, said tea industry sources today.

Our Dibrugarh Bureau reports quoting family sources, that an urn containing the ashes of the tea planter would be brought to Assam either on August 12 or 13 for the subsequent rituals.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today requested the Embassy of India in Bangkok to extend all possible help to the bereaved family of the prominent industrialist and tea planter for performing his last rites.

Gogoi requested Indian Ambassador to Thailand, Anil Wadhwa, to provide all possible help and support to the members of the bereaved family who would be arriving in Bangkok for performing the last rites, an official release said.

Governor Janaki Ballav Patnaik has expressed his deep sorrow at the sudden demise of Barooah. Calling Barooah a giant amongst Assamese industrialists, the Governor said that in his death, the State lost a man of incomparable acumen and corporate enterprise who took the Assamese tea industry to the forefront of the international arena.

The Tea Board of India today displayed a huge photograph of Barooah paying homage to the iconic tea planter.

Tea Board Chairman MGVK Bhanu also condoled the death of Barooah, terming it an irreparable loss to the country’s tea industry.

The Tea Research Association (TRA) has condoled the death of Barooah, who was its chairman from 1984 to 1989. During his tenure as TRA chairman, Barooah contributed immensely towards research and development activities in the tea sector.

The Council of Management of the Tea Research Association condoled the death of Barooah and prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has condoled the death of Barooah, describing it as an irreparable loss to the tea industry of the country.

The Assam Chamber of Commerce, Gauhati Artists’ Guild, Assam Fine Arts and Crafts Society, Association of Visual Artists, Assam also condoled Barooah’s death.

Our Dibrugarh Bureau adds: HP Barooah’s death has been condoled by the Assam Muttack Yuba Federation, All Assam Muttack Yuba-Chatra Sanmilan, All Dibrugarh Students’ Union, Dibrugarh University Post-Graduate Students’ Union, Dibrugarh University Employees’ Association, Dibrugarh University Teachers’ Association and various district and local units of AASU, ATASU, ATTSA, AASAA, Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, and various journalists’ associations, among others.

Born in 1926, Barooah obtained his MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1949 and in the process he became the first Harvard University alumnus from the North Eastern region of India. The likes of Peter McCollough of Xerox, Daniel Parker of Parker Pens, Marvin Traub of Bloomingdales, Ernie Henderson III of Sheraton Group, Roger Sonnabend of Sonnesta Group of Hotels were Barooah’s batch mates.

After returning to India, he quickly got involved with the family business and rapidly expanded his empire from two tea estates, producing 3 lakh kgs, to 10 estates as it stands today with 6 million kgs of production. His Company Barooah & Associates (B&A) Limited (erstwhile B&A Plantations & Industries Limited) was the first company owned by an Assamese to go public and be listed in the stock exchanges of Kolkata, Mumbai and Guwahati.

He diversified his product portfolio into other areas like tea broking with the incorporation of the first broking firm to be registered with Guwahati Tea Auction Centre - Assam Tea Brokers. Barooah played a pivotal role in the setting up of the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre.

Barooah also set up the pioneering packaging unit of the country — B&A Packaging India Limited.

His more recent endeavours include Heritage North East, which provides a boutique heritage hospitality chain by stringing together four heritage properties. He also set up the Kaziranga Golf Resort at Jorhat, which was conceived as a premium, futuristic abode for spending a holiday in a colonial Tea environment.

Barooah instituted in 1980 The Kamal Kumari Barooah Foundation in memory of his mother Late Kamal Kumari Barooah. This foundation earned widespread acclamation for its charitable activities and it instituted annual national awards in the fields of science and technology and art and culture. It has also been conferring the Siva Prasad Barooah National Award for Journalism and the Amit Barooah Award for Young Artists in memory of Barooah’s father Late Siva Prasad Barooah and Barooah’s son Late Amit Barooah respectively.

Barooah held the post of director of the State Bank of India for 11 years. He also held the posts of director of the Assam Financial Corporation, chairman of the Tea Research Association, chairman of the Indian Tea Association, president, Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Director of the Indian Airlines, Director of Assam Industrial Development Corporation, Member Central Advisory Council for Industries, Government of India.

The North Eastern Tea Association presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to him in 2007, the Association also conferred the Tea Doyen title on him in the same year. The Confederation of Indian Industry conferred on him the Visionary Business Leader – Assam title in 2010, the KC Das Commerce College presented the National Achiever Award 2010 to him. In 2011, he was felicitated by the Tea Research Association and in 2012, the Assam Cultural Trust also felicitated him. That year, he was presented the Journalist Kamala Saikia Memorial Trust Award. He was conferred the degree of Doctor of Science (Honorius Causa) the same year by the Assam Agricultural University. The Government of India conferred on him Padmashree in 2013.

He was widely acclaimed as one of the finest connoisseurs of arts, particularly of paintings. , His collections include the originals of Tagore, Abanindranath, Nandalal Bose, Ganesh Pyne, MF Hussain and Jamini Roy, among others.

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