Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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TAI wants govt to draw revival plan for tea industry

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From Our Correspondent

 AGARTALA: The Tea Association of India (TAI) on Monday urged the state government to draw a wide-ranging plan for overall development of the tea industry.

The tea industry, which produces 70 lakh kg tea annually has virtually plunged into crisis after the state government asked tea planters to stop rubber cultivation earmarked for tea plantation.

The state has 55 tea estates spreading over 14,000 acres of land and during survey, it was spotted that about 70 per cent land earmarked for tea plantation is virtually left barren or covered with rubber cultivation.

However, TAI, apex body of tea planters sees red in the government move. “The industry is reeling under various problems prompting planters to go for cash crops like rubber, bamboo and grass”, said PK Sarkar, secretary of TAI state unit here.

Displaying a gloomy picture of tea industry, he said most of the tea estates are running at huge loss due to downfall in tea price at tea auction markets and shortage of labourers.

“While state’s per kg tea is being sold at Rs 65-68 per kg in the auction markets, the cost of per kg tea stands at Rs 62-64”, he pointed out.

Asserting that the survival of tea industry would be difficult task, Sarkar said that Tripura Land & Revenue Act has the provision of planting tea, coffee and other cash crops.

Besides, KR Menon Committee had also suggested to take necessary steps to maintain and flourish the existing tea plants in stead of fresh plantation, he pointed out.

Sarkar further said that the Secretary of Commerce Ministry had also request the state government to all possible steps to ensure proper utilization of land meant for tea plantation.

Admitting that there were instances of raising rubber plantation within the premises of tea estates, Sarkar claimed.

“The condition of almost all tea estates is like hand-to-mouth due to different factors which has prompted the tea planters to go for rubber plantation”, he said.

Emphasizing on wide-ranging and long term plan for survival of tea industry, he said that the state government should come forward to address the real problem in stead of passing harsh words.

“The government must involve tea planter, government representatives and representatives from Tea Board of India to evolve a realistic approach for revival of the tea industry”, he said.

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