GUWAHATI, Feb 24 � Alarm bells are ringing for the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC)! It is no longer the largest CTC tea auction centre of the country. The tea auction centre has slipped to second place in matters of sale of CTC tea between April 1, 2011 and January 31, 2012, leaving no room to recover in the remaining two months of the financial year.
But the Kolkata Tea Auction Centre has prospered at the cost of the auction centre at Guwahati as well as Assam state exchequer during this period.. Between April 1, 2011 and January 31, 2012, GTAC could sell 114719 tonne of CTC tea.
The Kolkata Tea Auction Centre could sell 118711 tonne of CTC tea and of this, 86857 tonne was produced in Assam, that is, about 73 per cent of the CTC tea sold in the Kolkata Tea Auction Centre during the said period was produced in Assam. The previous year, 69 per cent of the CTC tea sold in Kolkata Tea Auction Centre was produced in Assam.
Sources in the tea industry said the GTAC has been recording a diminishing trend of CTC auctioning since 2008. The situation is such that without intervention from the highest level in the State Government, the GTAC may have to down its shutter in the days to come.
In 2008, Kolkata sold about 110 million kgs of CTC tea, against which GTAC sold about 152 million kgs of CTC tea. In 2009, the Kolkata Auction Centre sold about 121 million kgs of CTC tea and against that the GTAC sold about 138 million kgs of CTC tea. In 2010, the Kolkata Tea Auction Centre sold about 123 million kgs of CTC tea and the GTAC sold about 130 million kgs of CTC tea that year.
Adding to the agony of the GTAC, the average price of CTC tea was below Rs 4.41 per kg at this auction centre during the said period, compared to the price it could realize in the corresponding period last year. However, the average price of CTC tea during the same period at the Kolkata Tea Auction Centre was below only by Rs 0.94, compared to that of the corresponding period last year, sources said.
It needs mention here that Assam produced 508,741 tonne of tea in 2011. Tea production was the second highest in Assam in 2011 in the history of its 180-year tea industry.