GUWAHATI, May 22 � The North Eastern Tea Association (NETA), a leading organisation of the indigenous tea planters of the NE region, has made a strong plea with the Tea Board of India to announce an irrigation scheme for the benefit of the tea industry of the region with at least 60 per cent subsidy for general irrigation and 75 per cent subsidy for drip irrigation, to make irrigation affordable for all tea estates (TEs) of the region. It has also called for a specific subsidy scheme for rain water harvesting.
The planters� body said that this year the TEs of Assam had to stop plucking in the last part of April, even in the rain-fed areas like Doomdooma, due to scanty rainfall. During the period of past 25 years, this year was the worst in terms of pre-monsoon rainfall in the State. This development has been linked by the NETA with the climate change phenomenon.
The situation this year has called for urgent measures to introduce irrigation measures in all the TEs. Talking to this newspaper, NETA chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty said, �A subsidy scheme on irrigation which can be availed by all sizes of tea estates, including financially weak and sick tea estates, is the need of the hour.�