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Reviving a sick TE through Vrikshayurveda

By Staff Correspondent

DIBRUGARH, March 26 � A move that could well set a precedent for conversion of tea plantations in the State from chemical production to absolute organic, a sick tea estate in Sivasagar district is almost getting transformed to organic.

The sick tea estate known in the area as Gossainbari Tea Estate is located at the mouth of river Dehing on the banks of the Brahmaputra, some 15 minutes drive from Demow town. The garden had reportedly changed ownership thrice since early 1970. But none could revive the tea plantation in the conventional way. The crop had a vertical fall from the peak nine lakh kilograms to three lakh kilograms in 2009. For the last four years, the garden was managed by the workers themselves by just selling green leaves to save themselves from the brink of starvation. More than 250 families are dependent on the tea estate for their livelihood.

Now the new management jointly headed by O P Agarwal and Binod Saharia of Ambo Exports (P) Ltd, Kolkata, one of the leading tea export houses in India, have taken the challenge to revive the 140 years old plantation. The plantation was reportedly raised by families of B P Chaliha. The new management has almost invested half a crore for the organic way of tea production by planting over one lakh trees like Bhe, Bhekhol and Azar etc. to pump out excess water from the tea estate. The new management took over in the month of October last year.

The management is emphasising on the use of natural and sustainable resources to fertilise the plants by fermenting various combinations of local plants like dhekia, coneebee, ritha, nara hinga, banana stems, waterhycinth, karange etc. with cow dung and cow urine. While big number of workers are busy in organic fertilizer preparation, equal number of workers are toiling to eliminate helopeltis bug, leaf blister, black rot and other plant diseases using locally prepared herbal deterrent insecticides and pesticides liquid. All these workers, now motivated, are hopeful that the new management would resurrect the tea estate.

Even as the process of eliminating chemical residues from the soil, correction of mineral deficiencies and balancing the acidity level in the entire plantation area is going on in full swing, the tea estate has already undertaken production of organic tea in its factory powered by solar energy and fossil fuel. The organic factory was formally opened recently. Several tea industrialists, workers and a group of tourists from United States, USA, Switzerland and Cannada now make regular visit to the organic garden. Organic tea expert Harkrat Sidhu of Kolkata and tea tester Gautom Chaterjee, also from Kolkata are part of the greater set up of the tea estate.

The above organic methods called Vrikshayurveda have been successfully tried at Abali tea estate in Roing, Arunchal Pradesh under the guidance of Swami Valmiki Srinivasa Ayangarya from Karnataka. The same Vrikshayurveda has been introduced in Gossainbari Tea Estate. Vrikshayurveda is an ancient Indian science of Agriculture and Swami Valmiki is said to be the master on the subject.

Swami Valmiki is the brain behind the Gossainbari organic tea estate. At Abali organic tea estate, Swami Valmiki has come up with more than 20 formulations using the local vegetation, mostly wild fruits, grasses, leaves and weeds like guatemala grass, mechania, outenga, rabak tenga and the like.

One kilogram of organic tea is sold between Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 in the international market, according to Binod Saharia. Although some of the tea estates in Assam declare themselves to be producing organic tea, they lack government certification, Saharia claims. Maud Tea Estate near Chabua in Dibrugarh district is one among other tea estates venturing for organic now.

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Reviving a sick TE through Vrikshayurveda

DIBRUGARH, March 26 � A move that could well set a precedent for conversion of tea plantations in the State from chemical production to absolute organic, a sick tea estate in Sivasagar district is almost getting transformed to organic.

The sick tea estate known in the area as Gossainbari Tea Estate is located at the mouth of river Dehing on the banks of the Brahmaputra, some 15 minutes drive from Demow town. The garden had reportedly changed ownership thrice since early 1970. But none could revive the tea plantation in the conventional way. The crop had a vertical fall from the peak nine lakh kilograms to three lakh kilograms in 2009. For the last four years, the garden was managed by the workers themselves by just selling green leaves to save themselves from the brink of starvation. More than 250 families are dependent on the tea estate for their livelihood.

Now the new management jointly headed by O P Agarwal and Binod Saharia of Ambo Exports (P) Ltd, Kolkata, one of the leading tea export houses in India, have taken the challenge to revive the 140 years old plantation. The plantation was reportedly raised by families of B P Chaliha. The new management has almost invested half a crore for the organic way of tea production by planting over one lakh trees like Bhe, Bhekhol and Azar etc. to pump out excess water from the tea estate. The new management took over in the month of October last year.

The management is emphasising on the use of natural and sustainable resources to fertilise the plants by fermenting various combinations of local plants like dhekia, coneebee, ritha, nara hinga, banana stems, waterhycinth, karange etc. with cow dung and cow urine. While big number of workers are busy in organic fertilizer preparation, equal number of workers are toiling to eliminate helopeltis bug, leaf blister, black rot and other plant diseases using locally prepared herbal deterrent insecticides and pesticides liquid. All these workers, now motivated, are hopeful that the new management would resurrect the tea estate.

Even as the process of eliminating chemical residues from the soil, correction of mineral deficiencies and balancing the acidity level in the entire plantation area is going on in full swing, the tea estate has already undertaken production of organic tea in its factory powered by solar energy and fossil fuel. The organic factory was formally opened recently. Several tea industrialists, workers and a group of tourists from United States, USA, Switzerland and Cannada now make regular visit to the organic garden. Organic tea expert Harkrat Sidhu of Kolkata and tea tester Gautom Chaterjee, also from Kolkata are part of the greater set up of the tea estate.

The above organic methods called Vrikshayurveda have been successfully tried at Abali tea estate in Roing, Arunchal Pradesh under the guidance of Swami Valmiki Srinivasa Ayangarya from Karnataka. The same Vrikshayurveda has been introduced in Gossainbari Tea Estate. Vrikshayurveda is an ancient Indian science of Agriculture and Swami Valmiki is said to be the master on the subject.

Swami Valmiki is the brain behind the Gossainbari organic tea estate. At Abali organic tea estate, Swami Valmiki has come up with more than 20 formulations using the local vegetation, mostly wild fruits, grasses, leaves and weeds like guatemala grass, mechania, outenga, rabak tenga and the like.

One kilogram of organic tea is sold between Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 in the international market, according to Binod Saharia. Although some of the tea estates in Assam declare themselves to be producing organic tea, they lack government certification, Saharia claims. Maud Tea Estate near Chabua in Dibrugarh district is one among other tea estates venturing for organic now.