Agartala: Tripura’s 24-year-old Litan Bhowmik wants to become a teacher in a government school, but destiny may have something else in store for him. 

After completing his studies, Bhowmik pursued a Bachelor of Education degree from a private college in West Bengal’s Murshidabad, hoping to bag a government job. He, however, failed to crack the Teacher’s Eligibility Test (TET) on his first attempt. 

Coming from a lower middle-class background, Bhowmik was anxious about his future and in dire need of an income source to support his further studies to crack the TET exams. 

One day, while scrolling down his social media profile, Bhowmik came across a video of Prafull Billore, the owner of the MBA Chaiwala chain of eateries. Taking a cue from Billore, Bhowmik decided to set up his brand—BEd Chaiwala.

“I wanted to give a unique name to my tea shop. Initially, I planned to name the shop ‘Tea Corner’, but changed my mind as this name did not have that brand value or appeal. For a few days, I kept talking to my friends and finally stumbled upon the idea of naming my tea shop BEd Chaiwala,” he said.

Bhowmik opened his shop last week at the quarter complex market of Nandanagar area located in the suburbs of Agartala city. The same day, he created a social media page for his shop, and the response was unexpected. His photos and posts took the social media platforms by storm. And curious about his story, people started to visit his shop from faraway places.

Speaking exclusively to EastMojo, Bhowmik explained why he opened a business. “Since this is my business, I can manage time for my studies that would be impossible if I had taken up any other private job. I have tried to get jobs in Micro Finance companies, Pharmaceutical companies etc. as a salesperson. But if I get into these jobs, I would have no time to invest in my studies. So, with BEd Chaiwala, I can run on my terms,” he said.     

When asked why he chose tea, he said, “Good tea always gives good memories. I had no experience of tea making at my home. But I feel tea has good potential. In Agartala city, several people are coming up with unique tea shops. Although I am serving regular tea, for now, I plan to introduce new flavours and different varieties of tea as the festive season is coming close.”

“I invested about Rs 1.2 lakh to set up his shop. The site for the shop was allotted to his name by the market housing board. My elder brother, a clay artisan, also has a studio in the market,” he added.

He, however, seemed a little sceptical about getting a government job. “There is a perception among people that a BEd degree means a guaranteed government job, but the reality is starkly opposite. As far as I know, there are around 16,000 BEd and DElEd qualified job aspirants across the state. Over 3,600 have already qualified for the TET exams and are waiting for appointments. Only qualifying for the selection test is not enough. You must secure a place on the merit list to get the job.”

Bhowmik appeared in the TET exams in 2021 but failed to get the qualifying score by six marks. He is preparing for the next exam that could be conducted in October.

The Tripura government has faced severe criticism from the TET-qualified job aspirants seeking immediate recruitment drives. Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath has said that all the 3,600 job seekers would be given appointments in a phased manner. But, a recent notification released by the department sought around 600 posts to be filled.

One of the leaders of TET-qualified aspirants said, “If the government does not absorb all the qualified people before Puja, it can’t carry out any recruitment after Puja because of the model code of conduct for Village Committee polls. And, after the VC polls, the countdown for the general assembly elections willstart. All of us would be left in the lurch until and unless the new government takes charge.” 

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