DIBRUGARH, June 13 � The All India Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturer�s today accused the Tea Board of India of being hand in gloves with the Indian Tea Association (ITA) and said that the tea companies, which formed the ITA, were involved in framing prejudiced policies and passing it through the Tea Board to have monopoly over tea trade.
The Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturer�s which include the members from the Assam Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturer�s Association, North Bengal Tea Producers� Welfare Association and All India Manufacturers Organisation (AIMO�Tea Division) said that tea estate factories were enjoying undeserving exemptions from the government in spite of the fact that more than half of the latter�s manufactured tea came from leaves purchased from small tea growers.
The Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturer�s during its general convention held at Gymkhana Club here criticised the Tea Board for its recent notification through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, wherein all registered bought leaf tea factory are asked to sell 70 per cent of the manufactured tea through public auction. The three associations have questioned the Tea Board as to why estate factories were out of the ambit of sales through public auctions when they too were purchasing green tea leaves from the small tea growers. �This is discrimination and we strongly object. If it has to be implemented, the notification must also apply to the tea estate factories� said Chand Kumar Gohain, chairman, ABLTMA.
The Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturer�s also slammed the Tea Board for exempting the estate factories from manufacturing capacity expansion prohibition. Deben Singh, chairman, AIMO (Tea Division) said that the tea estates were only enjoying exemptions and subsidies from the government but were unable to improve quantity and quality. �Despite expansion of manufacturing capacity, the tea estates have failed to generate further employment. Their social responsibility is almost zero,� he said.
Gohain further said that non issuance of license to further set up bought leaf tea factories in the country had also come as a curse to the indigenous entrepreneurs. �On factory has a capacity to directly and indirectly employ 500 to 1000 persons,� he said.
The Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturer�s body resolved that the Government of India must revoke the alleged unjust policies for a free and fair trade of the same product �tea� in the country. The general convention of the Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturer�s was also attended by few members from South India. Satish Mithruka, vice president of North Bengal Tea Producers� Welfare Association attended among others from West Bengal.