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Tea bodies to extend cooperation to new Govt

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, May 22 - The indigenous tea planters of the State have hailed the spectacular electoral victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance in the Assembly elections as a welcome development.

In a statement, the joint forum of the Assam Tea Planters� Association (ATPA), North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) and the Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP) has pledged to work hand-in-hand with the newly elected government for the betterment of the tea industry and a healthy work force.

It also said that serious endeavour of the new government is solicited in convincing the Central government to declare tea as the national drink of India.

ATPA chairman Raj Barooah said, �We request the new government to draw a 10-year roadmap for this age-old industry after taking the views of all the industry stakeholders. This policy paper should spell out the provisions in law that will need periodic amendments over the next 10 years and a strategy for improvement of the livelihood of the tea workers through a holistic approach by taking the way forward in improving the economic health of the State�s tea industry.�

NETA chairman Manoj Jallan stated, �We are hopeful that the new government is fully seized of the extremely difficult situation that the tea industry is presently in, and also confident that it will create an environment facilitating the tea industry to bounce back, thereby ensuring the survival of all stakeholders of the industry.�

BCP chairman Mayank Agarwalla said, �It is our hope and belief that the new government will walk hand-in-hand with this age-old industry of Assam to keep it relevant and competitive in the challenging times of the 21st century.�

Tea Board of India Vice Chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty has expressed satisfaction that many newly-elected leaders are well convergent with the problems of the tea industry and hoped that the new government would take up on a priority basis the revival of 15 tea estates of the Assam Tea Corporation, activation of the Directorate of Tea and setting up of a tea auction centre at Jorhat.

The Assam Tea Corporation and the Directorate of Tea should be revamped by appointing professionals as CMD and director respectively, rather than bureaucrats, he said.

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