Industry Minister discusses quality and fair price of tea leaves with DCs

Janasanyog, Assam (Press Release – 51, Industries & Commerce)

Online Bartasewa – Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary held a video conference with the deputy commissioners of the tea growing districts to discuss in detail all the issues and challenges of the small tea growers pertaining to minimum price and quality.

Minister Patowary said, ‘Tea is our heritage and pride. We need to sustain this industry which is passing through a crisis situation. The quality of tea has to be maintained. Only quality tea will ensure survival of Assam tea in the global market and help regain its past glory.’

To achieve a harmonious relationship at the district level, Industry Minister asked the DCs to convene fortnightly meetings during the peak season with all the stakeholders like small tea growers, bought leaf factories, big tea gardens, district Tea Board officials for early negotiation and amicable resolution of any issues. The DCs apprised the Minister that most of the issues of small tea growers have been resolved amicably through meetings in the last few days.

Patowary further asked the DCs to give fair opportunity to both the sides and to resolve all issues through negotiation. He also asked the DCs to stop transportation of tea leaves beyond 8:00 pm in their respective districts to maintain temperature standard of tea leaves.

Reiterating the mandate that quality is paramount, Industry Minister stated that small tea growers must supply 65% fine quality tea leaves to bought leaf factories. On the other hand, bought leaf factories must not procure inferior quality of tea leaves and must adhere to the minimum benchmark price irrespective of peak or lean seasons.

Dr. KK Dwivedi, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department asked the DCs to sensitize the small tea growers to avail the incentives of Tea Cess Policy and set up micro plants by forming self help groups.

Arunita Phukan Yadav, Executive Director, Tea Board, North East Zone informed the DCs that district tea board officials will step up the inspection and monitoring of bought leaf factories so that DCs have credible information for negotiation. She also stated that if any bought leaf factory is violating the norms, DCs can send a report to Tea Board for issuing show cause notice for suspension of the license of the factory.

Tea Board officials appraised the Minister that there will be auto-renewal of exporter license, tea waste license and tea warehouse license through online portal from July 28, 2021. Industry Minster welcomed the notification of Tea Board of India which is in tune with the Assam Government’s policy of Ease of Doing Business (EODB) which has simplified the process via auto-renewal of permissions and clearances.

Ramen Lal Baishya, Director of Tea and other senior officials were present in the meeting.