DIBRUGARH, June 3 � The Assam Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturers Association (ABLTMA) and All India Manufacturers Organisation (AIMO-Tea Division) have objected to the alleged blatant discrimination amongst the class of manufacturers for sales of teas through public auctions.
The two organisations today said that leaving the estate factories out of the ambit of sales through public auctions was highly discriminatory as 25 per cent of the annual production the estate factories comes from the green leaves purchased from small tea growers.
The bought leaf tea factory owners have said that they have been abiding by the price sharing formula but the estate factories were openly flouting the norm with impunity and the Tea Board of India was not taking any action against the estate factories. �If the Tea Board of India wants transparency in price realizations for meeting the requirements of the Price Sharing Formula, then the requirement of sales through public auctions, should apply to all registered manufacturers buying green tea leaves,� Chand Kumar Gohain said.
The ABLTMA and AIMO-Tea Division have also condemned the curbing of the rights of a manufacturer to carry out expansion, stating that this would slow down economic activity and employment generation. They said that expansion was necessary in Assam as the tea industry, particularly the bought leaf sector and small tea growers were the major source of generators of employment and economic activity in Assam in the past two decades.
The members of the two organisations have claimed that during the past five years, the estate factories underwent massive capacity expansions, without much employment generation, whereas the issue of registrations by the Tea Board of India was stopped for indigenous entrepreneurs.
The issue of the present Gazette Notification after the massive capacity expansion by the estate factories for taking purchased green leaf is also intriguing, Gohain said. The Gazette Notification in question was issued by the Union Government on April 15, 2015, wherein
it said that a registered manufacturer shall be able to carry out any capacity expansion activities in their factory and that bought leaf tea factories would need to sell 70 per cent of their annual produce through public auctions.
Irked by the alleged discrimination, the executive committee of the two sister associations have sought to hold a �general convention� inviting all Bought Leaf Tea Factory Promoters of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh at Dibrugarh Gymkhana Club on June 13, 2015 to come to a consensus on their stand against the Gazette Notification. The association leaders have urged upon all Bought Leaf Tea Factory Promoters irrespective of their affiliation to any association to attend the general convention.