DIBRUGARH, Sept 3 - The tea industry in Upper Assam has been hit by erratic gas supply to the tea factories, thereby leading to disruption in manufacturing since the last few months.
Frequent disruption in supply of gas during the last few weeks have forced tea estates to reduce deployment of temporary workers and it is uncertain for how long these workers will be out of employment as there seems to be no sign of improvement.
The deteriorating situation has also compelled tea estates in the Doomdooma area to stop purchasing green leaves from small tea growers, said Madhurjya Barooah, Secretary of Assam Branch of Indian Tea Association (ABITA), Zone 1.
It needs to be mentioned here that over the years several new tea manufacturing factories have come up in the region as a result of which the demand of natural gas has increased significantly. However, the supply has remained stagnant. A large number of new consumers have been added to the supply network without any additional allocation of gas, sources from the tea industry informed.
In the wake of the prevailing situation in the tea factories, a delegation from ABITA comprising Doomdooma Tea Gas Grid Chairman Debajit Bhuyan, Dibrugarh Tea Gas Grid Secretary Manos Goswami, Dibrugarh Circle Chairman Sailen Goswami and Madhurjya Barooah, Secretary, Zone-1, besides a few representatives from the All Assam Small Tea Growers� Association, Tinsukia District Committee met Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at his residence here today and apprised him of the crisis situation prevailing in the Doomdooma and Dibrugarh grid gardens.
The Chief Minister reportedly gave the delegation a patient hearing and acted with due promptness. He immediately phoned the MD of AGCL and firmly instructed him to ensure smooth and regular supply of gas to the grid gardens till the season ends.
Sonowal also called up Chief Secretary Alok Kumar in the presence of the ABITA officials and instructed him to hold a review meeting in a week�s time with all stakeholders - OIL, AGCL, ONGC & ABITA to sort out the demand and supply imbalance in the network. The delegation from ABITA expressed hope that the crisis will come to an end with the intervention of the Chief Minister.