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State tea industry in poor shape

By AJIT PATOWARY

GUWAHATI, July 18 - The State�s tea industry is passing through a challenging period. Fall in the auction prices of tea this year, coupled with the dramatic fall in tea crops harvested in both 2014 and 2015, has left the tea industry of the State high and dry.

Chairman of the Assam Tea Planters� Association (ATPA) Raj Barooah said that in addition to the above phenomena, expenditure of the tea industry has also shot up. Particularly in the area of wages of the workers, the rise is up to 22 per cent and this has become effective since January 1, 2015.

All these have a crippling effect on the finances of the tea industry in Assam and even in West Bengal, he said.

A former chairman of the ATPA Prabhat Bezboruah maintained that weak tea prices despite short supply of the produce are indicative of an imperfect primary market for tea. Stakeholders had recognised this factor over a decade back in 2004 at a stakeholders� conference held in Delhi, where the seeds of e-auction were sown.

But unfortunately, the present e-auction has not removed many of the anomalies of the manual auction system and hence may be called an electronic version of the old model. The platform does not permit a nationwide spread of buyers� participation.

He further added that the woes of the industry are compounded by the extremely unsympathetic and even hostile attitude being adopted by the governments in the State and at the Centre, despite the fact that tea is the only large successful private sector industry in Assam.

Former chairman of the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) Manoj Jallan said the progressively declining auction prices are probably indicative of the nose-diving fortunes of the tea industry.

Not a single factor in the environment is working in favour of this industry, be it the governments � both at the Centre and in the State � the markets, both domestic and global, or even the weather god, he said.

Though cost of production is bound to go up, it has to be gradual and logical. The tea prices should at least match the annual inflation figures. A massive upward correction of tea prices is the need of the hour, said Jallan.

Former Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP) chairman Manoj Jalan said the solution perhaps lies in the tea industry developing an ability to get together and proactively pursue the reforms agenda across various sectors. The present model will neither be economically viable nor will it meet the growing aspirations of the community at large, he said.

NETA chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty said the State�s tea industry is passing through a very challenging period. It is getting less crop and less price, compared to those last year. The industry is almost crippled. If the situation does not improve by August, survivability of some gardens may become questionable, he said.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

State tea industry in poor shape

GUWAHATI, July 18 - The State�s tea industry is passing through a challenging period. Fall in the auction prices of tea this year, coupled with the dramatic fall in tea crops harvested in both 2014 and 2015, has left the tea industry of the State high and dry.

Chairman of the Assam Tea Planters� Association (ATPA) Raj Barooah said that in addition to the above phenomena, expenditure of the tea industry has also shot up. Particularly in the area of wages of the workers, the rise is up to 22 per cent and this has become effective since January 1, 2015.

All these have a crippling effect on the finances of the tea industry in Assam and even in West Bengal, he said.

A former chairman of the ATPA Prabhat Bezboruah maintained that weak tea prices despite short supply of the produce are indicative of an imperfect primary market for tea. Stakeholders had recognised this factor over a decade back in 2004 at a stakeholders� conference held in Delhi, where the seeds of e-auction were sown.

But unfortunately, the present e-auction has not removed many of the anomalies of the manual auction system and hence may be called an electronic version of the old model. The platform does not permit a nationwide spread of buyers� participation.

He further added that the woes of the industry are compounded by the extremely unsympathetic and even hostile attitude being adopted by the governments in the State and at the Centre, despite the fact that tea is the only large successful private sector industry in Assam.

Former chairman of the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) Manoj Jallan said the progressively declining auction prices are probably indicative of the nose-diving fortunes of the tea industry.

Not a single factor in the environment is working in favour of this industry, be it the governments � both at the Centre and in the State � the markets, both domestic and global, or even the weather god, he said.

Though cost of production is bound to go up, it has to be gradual and logical. The tea prices should at least match the annual inflation figures. A massive upward correction of tea prices is the need of the hour, said Jallan.

Former Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP) chairman Manoj Jalan said the solution perhaps lies in the tea industry developing an ability to get together and proactively pursue the reforms agenda across various sectors. The present model will neither be economically viable nor will it meet the growing aspirations of the community at large, he said.

NETA chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty said the State�s tea industry is passing through a very challenging period. It is getting less crop and less price, compared to those last year. The industry is almost crippled. If the situation does not improve by August, survivability of some gardens may become questionable, he said.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)