GUWAHATI, Feb 26 � Three State-based tea planters� associations � Assam Tea Planters� Association (ATPA), North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) and Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP), which represent the organized tea sector of the State, have urged the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce to recommend logical steps for addressing policy bottlenecks in the primary markets, or, auctions to protect the tea industry.
The planters� bodies also urged for steps to declare tea as the national drink of India. They made power-point presentation on the issue before the Standing Committee members. Their appeal to declare tea as the national drink was well received by the Committee members.
�Sustained generic promotion, backed by Government-funding, is imperative to boost domestic consumption of tea. Opening of Chai Bars across the country will help in increase in tea consumption,� they further said in their memorandum to the Standing Committee here today. The Standing Committee is on a four-day visit to the NE region since yesterday.
The planters� associations have also pleaded for engaging the Guwahati IIT or an institute of repute to develop user-friendly, economical machineries for harvesting, pruning and other activities in the tea industry to help it meet labour shortage.
The tea planters� bodies said in their memorandum that the logo of Indian tea should be restricted only to the teas that are 100 per cent Indian.
They have also called for steps to extend transport subsidy scheme under NEIIP 2007 to the plantation sector, improvement in infrastructure like power and road, rail and air connectivity to the tea plantation areas of Assam for raising competitiveness of this industry.
Meanwhile, the All Assam Small Tea Growers� Association (AASTGA) pleaded before the Standing Committee for steps to ensure Government subsidy for fertilizer and, pruning. In their memorandum, the AASTGA have also called for a special subsidy to set up cooperative factories for the State�s small tea growers in line with the Kenya Tea Development Authority.
The proposed Small Tea Directorate should be made operative from the current year and the field and campus training funds to the small tea growers should be continued, said the Association in its memorandum presented by its president Aswini Barua and general secretary Karuna Mahanta.