Several government employees in Assam attended office on Saturday wearing traditional clothes such as dhoti-kurta, mekhela-chadar, dakhana-fashra, two weeks after a senior state government official suggested that personnel department could consider asking government staff to wear traditional dress on the first and third Saturdays of every month.
P K Tiwari, Principal Secretary (General Administration), said the government has not issued any order asking employees to attend office on certain days in traditional attire. “My department or the government has not even considered that suggestion, not to speak of passing any order. It is just a suggestion,” Tiwari said.
The suggestion made by Principal Secretary (Personnel) P K Borthakur in a letter to Tiwari on April 26 had led to a huge debate with several local television channels running talk shows and panel discussions.
“It had become a talk of the town, prompting us to meet the chief secretary and discuss the matter. We have suggested to the government and our colleagues that the best thing to do is to come to office in decent clothes so that the decorum is maintained… We noticed a number of government employees attending the state secretariat here wearing traditional dresses on Saturday,” Basab Kalita, president of Sadau Asam Karmachari Parishad (SAKP), the apex body of state government employees, told The Sunday Express.
Kalita said that any order asking employees to wear “traditional clothes” would create a lot of confusion in a multi-ethnic and pluralistic state like Assam. “Different communities in Assam have different traditional dresses that may not make one comfortable in discharging official duty. Moreover, it will only create unwanted misgivings among the employees,” he said, asking the government to instead find ways to solve various problems and grievances of its employees.
Opposition Congress has already taken exception to the move. “There are a lot of important and burning issues to be handled. The BJP government should first try to fulfill the promises that the party and its allies had made to the people during the 2016 Assembly elections,” senior Congress legislator Abdul Khaleque said.