AGARTALA, April 3 � Along with other adverse factors, insufficient rainfall over the past 10/12 years appears a major problem for the tea industry in Tripura.
Tea estates in the State used to receive heavy rainfall during the monsoon � an average 95-110 inches during the period from 1983-1993 and sometimes it used to touch 110-120 inches.
Now, the average rainfall has scaled down to 57-63 inches bringing a drought-like situation in the tea gardens. While tea gardens received an average 63-67 inches rainfall during 2013, it has again come down to 57-63 inches during 2014.
�If you take the trend into consideration, the average rainfall has come down by 50 per cent in the past one decade virtually harming the good crop�, Shanti Brata Chakraborty, one of the oldest tea planters, said here on Friday.
�If the present rainfall trend continues, which is more likely due to the impact of global warming, the tea industry in Tripura will face a tough time in the days to come�, he warned.
Chakraborty said for around six/seven months the tea plantations doesn�t receive rain showers, starting from mid- October leading to a sharp fall in tea production.
Blaming government apathy towards the private-run tea industry, the veteran tea planter alleged the Left Front Government has virtually turned a blind eye on the core problems of the industry.
�Tea price is falling with every passing day. The scope of tea export is also reducing rapidly. Tripura tea has no logo so far causing problems for tea planters to get reasonable prices in the auction markets�, he pointed out.
Citing the plight of the tea industry, Chakraborty said the number of tea estates in the State has gone down from 65 to 45 due to various factors but the government has not taken any initiative to revive the industry.
More tea planters of the State are planning to shut down their gardens due to lack of revenue generation. �The role of Tripura Tea Development Corporation Ltd (TTDC) is not encouraging as it has failed to address the crore problems of the industry�, he pointed out.
Giving example of government�s apathy towards the tea industry, he alleged that it could not even set up a modern tea processing factory in the State yet.