DIBRUGARH, April 7 - As the first flush of green tea leaves of the spring gets harvested, the price issue has yet again surfaced as the small tea growers� body has cried foul on the pricing of fresh green tea leaves by tea manufacturers.
The All Assam Small Tea Growers� Association (AASTGA) has alleged that the manufacturers have been arbitrarily paying low prices to growers by raising arguments that the leaves supplied to them had grown longer and had turned coarse.
�Some factories have been deducting about 10 per cent of the total weight, citing the same reasons. But instead of segregating the coarse leaves from the quality produce or rejecting it, the manufacturers are processing all of them,� said Rohit Borgohain, general secretary of the small tea growers� body.
Borgohain said that growers were paid between Rs 14 to Rs 20 for every kilogram of leaves harvested in March. The first flush of green tea leaves normally fetches a high price. In the previous years, the small tea growers had received over Rs 20 per kg around this season.
The small tea growers� body has urged the Tea Board and the respective district price monitoring committees to ensure that small tea growers were not denied fair prices while determining the bench mark price for green tea leaves.
Rohit Borgohain also demanded that the Tea Board and State Government should take the initiative to open tea factories exclusively for small tea growers to protect them from exploitation.