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Tea could be India�s national drink: Montek

By Surjya Kumar Chetia

JORHAT, April 21 � Tea, apart from its unchallenged popularity in the country as a favourite beverage, has been bearing the memories of the freedom struggle as the then Assamese tea planters like Moniram Dewan fought for the independence of the country inspired by a great fervor of nationalism, which might be considered as a strong reason to declare it as the national drink of India.

This was stated by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia at the 75th annual general meeting of Assam Tea Planters� Association and the platinum jubilee celebration function held at Tocklai Experimental Station here today. He further assured that he will discuss the issue of providing recognition to tea as the national drink with the authorities concerned like Anand Sarmah, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry.

He further said that it was time for the tea industry to promote its products with a much more aggressive approach so that Assam tea would receive a brand identification of its own. Value added products of tea should be the attraction in the world market to gain a better place like the various types of coffee products in USA, he added. He also put emphasis on the all-round development of the workers in the tea industries, of whom almost 50 per cent are women.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in his speech said that tea was the first rural and agriculture-based economy in the state. He also stressed a good marketing policy for tea products and replantation in the old tea gardens in the state. He praised the young generation tea planters for their endeavour to make tea industry prosperous in recent times.

Pradyut Bordoloi, Power and Industry Minister addressing the gathering said that about 70000 small tea growers had been contributing a lot towards the state economy. He highlighted the demand for orthodox tea in the western countries and Assam can produce it on a large scale keeping an eye on it. He also informed that Chief Minister Gogoi had yesterday submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Dr Monmohan Singh requesting for recognition of tea as national drink.

B Borkakati, chairman, North Eastern Tea Association brought the problems tea industry had been facing to the notice of the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. Among them need of irrigation in the tea gardens, establishment of human resource development centre for tea industry in the state, marketing of �black tea� as a health drink are notable. He argued that as tea is the national drink of China, Britain, Egypt, Iran and Morocco, it could be declared as the national drink of India too.

In this connection a platinum jubilee souvenir, edited by Prabhat Bezbaruah was released by Dr Ahluwalia and Gogoi.

A R Kasera, chairman, ATPA earlier in his welcome address discussed the history of the tea industry and origin and development of ATPA. He also informed that a Cai Bar (Tea Room) of international standard had been planned to be opened at Guwahati Tea Auction Centre building in which more than 50 varieties of brewed tea would be served. ATPA is waiting for response of the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre.

He also said that an integrated Tea Park near Guwahati is the need of the hour. A Tea Park with infrastructure of international standard and state-of-the-art facilities on the lines of Monbasa and Dubai would help in warehousing value addition, enhance export, trading and generate employment.

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Tea could be India�s national drink: Montek

JORHAT, April 21 � Tea, apart from its unchallenged popularity in the country as a favourite beverage, has been bearing the memories of the freedom struggle as the then Assamese tea planters like Moniram Dewan fought for the independence of the country inspired by a great fervor of nationalism, which might be considered as a strong reason to declare it as the national drink of India.

This was stated by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia at the 75th annual general meeting of Assam Tea Planters� Association and the platinum jubilee celebration function held at Tocklai Experimental Station here today. He further assured that he will discuss the issue of providing recognition to tea as the national drink with the authorities concerned like Anand Sarmah, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry.

He further said that it was time for the tea industry to promote its products with a much more aggressive approach so that Assam tea would receive a brand identification of its own. Value added products of tea should be the attraction in the world market to gain a better place like the various types of coffee products in USA, he added. He also put emphasis on the all-round development of the workers in the tea industries, of whom almost 50 per cent are women.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in his speech said that tea was the first rural and agriculture-based economy in the state. He also stressed a good marketing policy for tea products and replantation in the old tea gardens in the state. He praised the young generation tea planters for their endeavour to make tea industry prosperous in recent times.

Pradyut Bordoloi, Power and Industry Minister addressing the gathering said that about 70000 small tea growers had been contributing a lot towards the state economy. He highlighted the demand for orthodox tea in the western countries and Assam can produce it on a large scale keeping an eye on it. He also informed that Chief Minister Gogoi had yesterday submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Dr Monmohan Singh requesting for recognition of tea as national drink.

B Borkakati, chairman, North Eastern Tea Association brought the problems tea industry had been facing to the notice of the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. Among them need of irrigation in the tea gardens, establishment of human resource development centre for tea industry in the state, marketing of �black tea� as a health drink are notable. He argued that as tea is the national drink of China, Britain, Egypt, Iran and Morocco, it could be declared as the national drink of India too.

In this connection a platinum jubilee souvenir, edited by Prabhat Bezbaruah was released by Dr Ahluwalia and Gogoi.

A R Kasera, chairman, ATPA earlier in his welcome address discussed the history of the tea industry and origin and development of ATPA. He also informed that a Cai Bar (Tea Room) of international standard had been planned to be opened at Guwahati Tea Auction Centre building in which more than 50 varieties of brewed tea would be served. ATPA is waiting for response of the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre.

He also said that an integrated Tea Park near Guwahati is the need of the hour. A Tea Park with infrastructure of international standard and state-of-the-art facilities on the lines of Monbasa and Dubai would help in warehousing value addition, enhance export, trading and generate employment.