GUWAHATI, May 6 - The State tea industry has incurred a loss of nearly Rs 600 crore during the lockdown, with the decline in production estimated at 32 million kilograms.
In view of prevailing situation, the State government has already announced the waiver of the minimum fixed charge of supply of natural gas to the tea gardens which were closed during the lockdown period. This was informed by Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary talking to the media here today.
�Tea industry is the biggest industry in the State and being seasonal, the lockdown coincided with start of the new season. The tea industry has been hit hard as their major production period has been affected. The tea production in India during 2019 was 1,389.70 million kg. Tea production in Assam in 2019 was 715.49 million kg, i.e., 51.51 per cent of the total tea production in India,� the minister said.
He also informed that tea auction has restarted in Guwahati and all tea warehouses have also been opened.
Patowary further stated that all the 15 gardens and factories of Assam Tea Corporation Limited (ATCL) have been allowed to function in full capacity and that the State government has also ensured the payment of full wages to all 16,720 workers and employees of ATCL during the lockdown period.
The industries in Assam contribute 39 per cent to the State GDP and provide direct employment to approximately four lakh people and indirect employment to around 20 lakh people.
Patowary said that since most of the industries were closed down during the lockdown period, it severely affected the State�s economy.
As on May 5, as many as 820 industries are functioning and approximately 28,027 workers are at work in these industrial units. All 783 big tea gardens and 1.18 lakh small tea gardens have also been reopened.
In addition to these, 508 tea factories and 296 bought-leaf factories have been allowed to function.
At present, 7.33 lakh workers are being engaged in the big tea gardens and about three lakh workers are working in the small tea gardens.
�Regular visits are being made by the department officers for ensuring compliance of COVID-19 guidelines in the industrial units,� the minister added.
The State government has issued revised guidelines on May 5, allowing all industries in the State with their supply chain to restart without the need of special permission.
All the personnel working therein are also allowed to commute to work at all times. Warehouses, godowns, goods carrying vehicles, all construction activities have also been allowed to continue at all times.