AGARTALA, June 11 � The tea industry faces crisis in Tripura with tea garden owners failing to get fertiliser even after repeated appeals to the State Government.
About 7,000 hectares of land is under tea cultivation in the State while 4000 MT fertiliser mainly urea is required annually, according to sources in the Tea Association of India (TAI), Tripura branch.
The State Government had stopped supplying fertiliser few years back citing shortage of urea but of late it has agreed to supply 140 MT fertiliser. But the tea garden owners here have not received fertiliser forcing the tea garden authorities to procure required fertiliser from the open market at higher prices.
There are reports of huge quantity of fertiliser allocated for agriculture being �diverted� to tea cultivation depriving the farmers. However, the government is mum on the problem.
Besides, revised power tariff for tea industry and imposition of agriculture tax have made the tea industry to struggle for survival in the State.
�We have been demanding supply of fertiliser for long but unfortunately no tangible result is seen so far�, said PK Sarkar, secretary of Tea Association of India (TAI), Tripura branch here recently.
While the production cost is scaling up ( Rs 75-80 per kg), the selling price stands at Rs 65-70 per kg, he said adding that the 14,000 people involved in the industry would face bleak future if the government doesn�t take remedial measures immediately. �We are trying our level best to make the government understand about the problems in the tea industry but no visible step has so far been taken by the government�, added he.
The condition of small tea growers is worse as the State Government seems reluctant to look at the problems being faced by them, said a tea estate owner on condition of anonymity. The State produces 75 lakh kg annually from 56 tea gardens.