GUWAHATI, May 31 � The State Government has fixed the criteria for setting up the bought leaf tea factories (BLFs). For the past about three years, the Tea Board, which is the licencing authority for the BLFs and the tea estate factories, was not according permission to set up new BLFs in Assam for manufacturing crush-tear-curl (CTC) teas due to the objection from the State Government.
The State Government was insisting upon a detailed survey before according permission to the new BLFs. Recently, the Chief Minister released the report of the extensive survey done by the State Industries Department on the matter.
Following this, the Industries Department held a meeting involving the tea producers� associations and the small tea growers� association on April 19, 2011. The criteria for setting up the BLFs were fixed at that meeting.
The meeting decided to categorise the BLFs into two groups � one comprising those who do not have their own plantation and the other comprising the ones having their own plantations on at least 100 acres of land. On an average, 5 lakh kgs of green leaf are produced on 100 acres of land in a year.
Application of the second category of entrepreneurs, who have their own plantations of the above size, would get preference over those grouped in the first category for the purpose of according permission to set up the BLFs.
One of the important criteria proposed for the purpose is the availability of green leaf per BLF should be at least 25 lakh kgs per annum. An area within the radius of 20 km from the proposed BLF will only be considered as catchments, even though provision to relax this criterion has been kept open on the basis of the �pre-approval inspection report, for the districts where there is no BLF.�
To ensure quality, one of the proposed criteria has stated that the green leaf should reach the BLF within one hour from the plucking fields. Moreover, the BLF units should not procure leaf from agents but should make the procurements directly from the small growers, self help groups or individual small growers. The agreements made in this regard are to be attached along with the applications, said one of the proposed criteria.
The list of existing factories along with their installed capacity within a radius of 20 km from the proposed factory should be submitted and verified during the pre-approval inspection, said another criteria proposed for the purpose.