GUWAHATI, Sept 5 - The North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has expressed serious concern over the failure of the Assam Gas Company Ltd (AGCL) authorities to maintain the regular supply of natural gas to tea factories for the last about three months.
In a statement here today, the NETA said that such a situation may have a serious impact on the quality of Assam tea, besides affecting its production.
It needs mention here that this is the peak season for production in the tea sector of the State. At present, hectic activities are going on in the State�s major tea estates and the small tea gardens as well.
The tea factories located particularly in the upper Assam districts of Golaghat and Jorhat are the worst hit by the irregular gas supply. Many tea estate factories have been forced to stop procuring green tea leaves from small tea growers in the face of this problem, said the NETA in its statement.
This development has also posed a serious threat to the tea industry as the price of tea is falling.
NETA chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty has sent a memorandum to the Managing Director (MD) of the AGCL, pleading for the supply of natural gas in accordance with demand.
Barkakoty said in his memorandum: �We understand that the pressure of natural gas should be around 2-2.5 kg at the supply point of the factory, whereas at times it drops to as low as 300 to 400 grams, leading to disruption of the manufacturing process, which affects the quality of the finished product. At times, this happens without any prior information.
�You are aware of the fact that green leaf being a perishable commodity, the processing and manufacturing ought to be done within a certain time frame after it reaches the factory. With this kind of frequent disruptive and erratic gas supply, it becomes extremely difficult to cope up in the midst of the peak growing season. This also often forces the processing units to defer their leaf intake, resulting in the delay of plucking by the growers and thereby adversely affecting the quality and price of green leaf.�
Barkakoty has also sent memoranda to the Deputy Commissioners of Golaghat and Jorhat districts in this respect.