AGARTALA, Feb 21 � The Tripura branch of the Tea Association of India (TAI) has urged the Tea Board of India (TBI) to officially recognize the State�s finished tea by allocating it a separate logo.
There has always been a negative campaign at the auction markets that tea produced in Tripura is not of good quality though it is not true at all.
Talking to this correspondent here on Monday, TAI State branch secretary PK Sarkar said over the years, the tea industry in the State has grown up maintaining all quality criteria.
Tripura produces 7 million kg of tea annually at an average price of Rs 80 per kg. It gives employment to around 14,000 people, mostly tea pluckers. The State has altogether 58 tea gardens.
�The State�s tea has failed to make an impact even at the open markets due to malicious campaign in the past few years. To remove the tough barriers, the TAI branch has urged the TBI to allocate a logo for Tripura tea,� he said.
Sarkar said that three proposed monograms have been submitted before the TBI for its consideration. �If the TBI approves of the request, Tripura tea will have a separate logo (brand) soon that will go a long way in terms of marketing.
The crisis in the tea industry does not seem to end only with the logo or brand problem. The planters are at loggerheads with the State Government over the use of land allocated for tea cultivation.
According to the latest survey, around 50 per cent of the allotted land is lying unused, raising eyebrows of the State administration. In a recent move, the Revenue department has asked the tea planters to use the full allotment land within the next two years or else the Government will take back the unutilised land.
But the TAI unit opposed the Government move, saying that it would not be possible to plant tea saplings in the unutilised land within the stipulated time. �Tea plantation needs at least 10 years,� said Sarkar.
In support of its stand, the TAI unit has urged the State Government to allow tea planters to go for cash crops in some unused land within the tea estate. However, the Government is adamant over the �dispute.�