Friday, June 14, 2024
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Tea planters asked to use land properly

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From Our Correspondent

 AGARTALA: Taking a serious view over the use of land meant for tea cultivation, Tripura government on Friday announced that it would not allow tea planters to go for rubber cultivation in the tea estates.

Government norms suggest, at least 70 percent tea estate land should be covered with tea while rest 30 percent may be used for other purpose- sowing cash crops or planting rubber.

Tripura has 55 tea garden spreading over 14,000 acres of land. However, a section of tea planters have started raising rubber trees within the tea estate premises on the ground that tea is no longer a viable venture now a days.

Concerned at the trend, Industries and Commerce Minister already had meetings with tea planters to make them understand about the government norms for using land for tea cultivation.During a survey, it was found that about 70 percent land earmarked for tea cultivation is virtually left barren for years. “The government wants tea planters to act as per the norms and not to go for rubber plantation”, said the Industries Minister here.

Talking to media at Civil Secretariat, Chowdhury said that sizable area of tea cultivation allotted land remained unused years after years. “The government will not tolerate this kind of practice. The government may acquire the ‘barren’ land if tea planters fail to utilize the land as per the norms”, he said.

Chowdhury further said, tea planters have been trying to clarify their stand saying shortage of labourers emerged as major problem after introduction of NREGA.

However, many see red in the government stand. According to tea planters, tea industry has become a burden for them due to many factors. “The government apathy and cost related factor have been adversely affecting the prospect of tea industry in the state”, said a tea planter on condition of anonymity.

The state produces 75 lakh kg annually from 56 tea gardens while it gives employment about 14000 people. “We are trying our level best to make the government understand about the problems in the tea industry but no visible step has so far been taken by the government”, said a member of TAI.

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