BISWANATH CHARIALI, March 4 � Acute shortfall of rain during the last few months has hit hard the small tea growers in the districts of Sonitpur, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji in Northern Assam.
The situation has become so grim that the tea growers find it difficult to keep their plantations green. It may be mentioned here that a large amount of green tea leaves had to be destroyed last year owing to the decrease in price and non-purchase by the big tea houses. Most of the tea-groweres are not in a position to make arrangements for water supply and only 5 per cent of them have been able to use �spring-cooler� for the same.
The increase in the price of diesel has also forced them to get restraint from this Weather-Science Centre� sources revealed that there was no chance of rainfall before the first week of March.
According to informations, the amount of rainfall at Biswanath Chariali during the year 2010 was January - 0.0 mm, February - 0.0 mm, March - 135.6 mm, April- 195.3 mm, May- 203.6 mm, June- 534.2 mm, July-339.6mm, August - 272 mm, September - 176.6 mm, October - 59.8 mm, November - 29.2 mm and December - nil. During 2011, the rainfall was like this - January - 30.0 mm, February - 6 mm, March- 90 mm, April - 98 mm, May - 249 mm and June - 539.6 mm.
When the above data is compared, it could be observed that the ratio has been going down. No rainfall has been recorded during the month of February in 2012. As a result, the tea-plants have not produced shoots till now after cutting was done in November last. The tea factories started functioning from February last year, but they are not likely to resume work this year before mid-March.
According to sources in big tea-houses, the production of tea has been decreasing during the last two years and on the other hand, the cost of production is rising due to the temporary arrangements of irrigation. The affected tea-growers have urged the Government to announce special packages for the upliftment of the ailing tea industry.