GUWAHATI, Oct 11 - Grappling with erratic fund flow for nearly a decade now, the Jorhat-based Tocklai Tea Research Institute is focusing on internal revenue generation to reduce dependency on Central allocation.
Director Dr AK Baruah said among the measures mooted for increasing its internal revenue generation is commercialization of the institute�s bio-pesticide unit. The bio-pesticide unit was upgraded this year.
�From the testing services we earn around Rs 1.5 crore. We are looking at doubling it. Under a Rs 17-crore project, the government has approved a world class quality control lab. This will be an additional revenue resource,� he said.
The Assam government-sponsored Rs 17 crore project has provisions for setting up a centre for both basic and advanced training for small tea growers.
The building is nearing completion and the lab would be equipped with world class equipment. The lab is expected to be functional within six months.
�Trustea certification by TRA (Tea Research Association) is another vertical. Professional training courses, tea tourism, sale of seeds, cuttings of tea cultivars and tea bioactives-based byproducts, testing services and tea conferences are other verticals to raise funds,� he said.
The institute is also mooting commercializing of some byproducts of specialty tea and its experts are working on it.
From these resources, the institute hopes to generate a revenue of Rs 8 to 9 crore in five years from now.
The annual budget of the institute is around Rs 26 crore, of which a whopping 80 per cent goes in the salary component. Of the total budget, 49 per cent was being given by Central government and the rest comes from the industry.
However, the Central allocation � which used to come for five heads, including salary, PF, gratuity, training and medical, had been going down since 2012. The present backlog under these five heads, including salary, stands at around Rs 10.71 crore. The total backlog, including the research component, is around Rs 40 crore.
Last year, the Central government released only Rs 5 crore.
Despite hiking the industry subscription by 100 per cent in the last three years, the institute had not been able to tide over the crisis.
Besides salaries, the institute has not been able to give retirement benefits to its employees.
Recently, a delegation led by Tea Research Association chairman PK Bezboruah had a meeting with top officials of the Union commerce ministry and raised the issues.