NEW DELHI, April 27 - In a major setback for the tea industry in Assam and the State government, the Centre has overturned a proposal to set up a Tea Park in Amingaon and shifted it to Dhamra Port in Odisha.
Sources said that officials of the Indian Tea Association (ITA) and Indian Tea Exporters� Association (ITEA) had paid a visit to the Port for an on-site assessment and had made a recommendation for the port as it is cost effective compared to the Kolkata Port and the Inland Container Depot at Amingaon.
Sources said that Ministry of Commerce and Industry has selected a location near the Dhamra Port for setting up a tea park on the lines of the �Dubai Multimodal Commodity Centre, Tea Centre, Jebel Ali Free Zone�.
Setting up of tea parks in India would promote the country as an investment destination, establishing India as a manufacturing hub by attracting the global tea brands. Such parks would ensure integration of various facilities with the creation of world-class infrastructure and common centre for availing various services for the tea growers and the exporters, sources said.
Consequent to interactions with the stakeholders and CEO of the Dhamra Port, the Tea Board had decided to take a call on its feasibility after the starting of the containerised movement from the port. The Tea Board had also communicated with the Department of MSME, Government of Odisha for seeking land around Dhamra Port for the proposed Tea Park.
However, trouble continues to plague the project in Odisha. The Adani Group had been communicated for availing facilities required for setting up of the Tea Park, but in spite of repeated reminders by the Tea Board, a response from the Adani Group is yet to be received, sources said.
Although the Dhamra Port CEO had informed the Tea Board in December 2017 that the facilities for direct shipment from Dhamra Port would reduce costs on transshipment, which is presently being done by either Colombo or Singapore, the containerised movement from this port is yet to start since the approval has not been received from the Ministry of Finance.
Sources admitted that project is still in its infancy and even the allotment of land had not been done. Also the containerised movement for tea exports had not begun due to the delay in receiving approval from the Ministry of Finance.
As reported, the then Minister of State for Industries Pradyut Bordoloi had set the ball rolling in 2013 by proposing to set up the Tea Park near the Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Amingaon in North Guwahati. The proposed park, spread over 500 to 600 bighas of land, was to come up through the public private partnership (PPP) mode and it was to be handed over to the tea industry and its stakeholders to invest in it.
The tea park was envisaged to house a multi-storey warehouse, tea packers, blenders, etc., all under one roof. It was intended to have dedicated and state-of-the-art infrastructure and other facilities required for value addition of tea. As the ICD is located close by, shipping of finished products would have been hassle-free.