GUWAHATI, June 6 - The Tea Board of India has proposed to introduce a new age technology-based e-auction platform for tea auction at Jorhat, said Arun Kumar Ray, deputy chairman of the Tea Board. He was talking to this newspaper.
The new age e-auction system at Jorhat will be different from the existing e-auction systems in the country�s tea auction centres.
Ray said that in the export policy of India, Assam holds an important place and hence, this approach to serve the tea producers of the State better has been thought of.
Already the tendering process to select the best bidder for managing the Jorhat auction system is completed and �mjunction�, a venture jointly owned on a 50:50 basis by the Tata Steel and the Steel Authority of India (SAIL), has been selected for the purpose of running the Jorhat set-up. India�s largest eCommerce company, �mjunction� also runs the world�s largest eMarketplace for steel.
The procedure to select the best bidder was determined by a committee headed by Prof B Mahadevan of IIM, Bangalore, said the Tea Board deputy chairman.
He further informed that the old e-auction system is still in use at the seven tea auction centres of the country � Kolkata, Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Guwahati, Coimbatore, Coonoor and Kochi. These auction centres are run by the NSE.IT, a 100 per cent subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd.
The new auction system is sought to be introduced to initiate a competition among the e-auction centres and also to cut cost in tea auction, Ray said.
The joint forum of the Assam Tea Planters� Association (ATPA), North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) and the Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP), the three State-based tea producers� associations, has welcomed the Tea Board initiative.
NETA advisor Bidyananda Barkakoty, when contacted by this newspaper, said that the joint forum has been demanding a cutting-edge technology-based auction centre at Jorhat and it is happy to know that such an auction centre is coming up there.
Asked whether there is any scope of the Jorhat tea auction centre posing any threat to the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC), Barkakoty replied in the negative.
He maintained that out of Assam�s total tea production, only 45 per cent is sold through auction centres at Kolkata and Guwahati, and the rest 55 per cent is sold directly from factory or exported. Hence, the new auction centre at Jorhat can target this 55 per cent of Assam�s production to bring it under the new-age auction platform, he said.
It needs mention here that Assam produced about 692 million kilograms of tea in 2018 and out of this about 188 million kg were sold through Guwahati Tea Auction Centre, while about 127 million kg were sold through the auction centre in Kolkata.
Five districts of Assam � Golaghat, Jorhat, Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia � produce more than 470 million kg of tea annually, which is about 70 per cent of Assam�s total output. Jorhat is located at a central location for all these districts as well as for tea factories of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. This auction centre is expected to increase economic activity in Jorhat and generate employment.