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Assam: Mass hysteria over Topcem Cement’s hiring of Bangladeshi diplomat’s wife in top post

GUWAHATI: At a time when India has officially entered a technical recession and job cuts in every sector and industry has become the norm, Topcem Cement has raised quite a few eyebrows by appointing a Bangladeshi diplomat’s wife in a senior position.

Munera Azam, the wife of Shah Mohammad Tanvir Mansur, Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner to Guwahati, has been appointed as Senior Manager of the Marketing and Sales department by Topcem, which claims to be the ‘Best in Northeast India.’

According to reports in the media, Azam’s wife started her job at the cement manufacturer’s head office in Guwahati in March last, before a stringent lockdown was imposed to arrest the spread of the virus.

Azam’s Qualifications:

Azam has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Liberal Arts in Bangladesh, said reports. She worked as an executive with the Standard Chartered Bank from 2012 to 2013. From September 2014 to October 2016, she worked as a Marketing Coordinator with hardware giants ASUS in Dubai. Between 2017 and 2019, Munera Azam did her Master’s degree in International Marketing. After completion of her degree, Azam was offered the senior post by Topcem.

Why Topcem has come under the scanner:

Topcem Cement, one of the leading cement manufacturers in the Northeast, has found itself at the centre of controversies time and time again. In Meghalaya, for instance, Topcem cement is selling its cement bags for Rs. 40 to Rs. 60 more (in comparison to Assam).

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Topcem again entered the limelight after it failed to publish its ‘Environmental Compliance Statement’, which is a ‘mandatory obedience’ as per the MOEF&CC guidelines.

Topcem Cement also failed to publish Stack Emission Monitoring and the Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Results after September 2020.

Meanwhile, regional organizations and activists of Assam are up-in-arms over the hiring of the Bangladeshi diplomat’s wife by the top cement company. Topcem’s hiring of a foreigner amid the ongoing economic downturn and job crisis has been heavily condemned by the state’s regional bodies.

“Many people lost their jobs and livelihoods across Assam during the lockdown as the economy was badly dented. Therefore, companies like Topcem Cement should think about giving livelihoods to the people of Assam. We are sure that there are many eligible people in the state who can fill these positions that are being given to foreigners. We condemn Topcem’s move and demand that such things should not happen ever again,” All Assam Students’ Union General Secretary Sankar Jyoti Baruah, told Inside Northeast.

Manjit Mahanta, a noted activist from Assam, has termed this development as “unfortunate” and “condemnable.”

“First of all, with all due respect, she (Azam) is a foreigner. These companies are exploiting the resources of Assam. Moreover, the top rung of these companies are often from outside the State. It is indeed questionable,” Mahanta said, adding, “This is an instance of a non-Assamese company insulting the people of Assam by considering that we are not eligible for such posts. Is there a lack of people with such qualifications in Assam? The companies should stop exploiting Assam, or else the people of Assam will never ever accept them.”

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