GUWAHATI, Feb 28 � The All Assam Tea Factory Demand Committee has pleaded for making easier the Tea Board norms for setting up tea factories for the small tea growers of the State.
In their memorandum to the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce, which left for New Delhi today after a four-day visit to the NE region, the Demand Committee suggested that licences should be issued to the small tea growers having their sufficient own green leaf production.
Self-help group is not the only way to accommodate excess amount of green leaves produced by the growers, the committee said. Establishment of suitable centre to train up the growers on production of quality green leaf and processing of quality made tea have also been pleaded by the committee.
The committee argued that the over 80,000 small tea growers of the State produce 716 million kgs of green leaves annually making a contribution of 30 per cent to the total quantity of tea produced in the State. But, the small tea growers do not have their own processing units for manufacturing made tea.
As a result, small tea growers for the last two decades have depended either on the estate factories or on the bought-tea-leaf factories, which could not fetch the right price in the market.
To safeguard their interest, some enterprising small tea growers are prepared to set up tea factories of their own. It is learnt that more than 18 such entrepreneurs have submitted application along with all necessary documents cleared from various State departments to the Tea Board, but to no avail.
It has resented the Government of Assam�s 2008 advice to the Tea Board for not to issue any more licence to for any fresh tea factories in the State. The State Government�s 2008 suggestion was based on the belief that excess amount of green leaf would require feed excess processing facilities. This would result in coarse plucking.
But this concept was not correct, said the committee. It argued that lakh kilograms of green leaves were dumped by the small tea growers on the roads during the peak season of 2011. Moreover, bought-leaf-factories and big estate factories were allowed to enhance their manufacturing capacities by manifolds during this period, argued the Committee.