DIBRUGARH, Aug 29 – The State tea industry is set for another revolution with the creation of a separate Small Tea Growers’ Development Directorate in the tea-growing district here by October next, establishment of call centres and immediate issuance of authorisation to Self-Help Groups for setting up tea factories. Chairman of the Tea Board of India, MGVK Bhanu, while addressing small tea growers during a national workshop in Jyoti Bibha Bhawan here today said that the directorate for small tea growers was important for protection, development and expansion of small tea growers. He said the directorate would commence by the first week of October.
“Issuing of licences to SHGs for opening tea factories will not be delayed anymore,” he told tea growers. The Tea Board chairman said that the Board was prepared to give 40 per cent subsidy to tea-grower SHGs for establishment of tea factories. Call centres in regional languages would also be set up to cater to the growers’ need, Bhanu said.
The national workshop held under the aegis of the Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Associations (CISTA) mainly focused on formation of primary producer societies and creation of Small Tea Growers’ Development Directorate.
The Tea Board chairman appealed to the growers to strengthen their base for collective growth and progress. “You should have strong association to bargain with the government,” he said. He advocated formation of primary producer societies in the form of SHGs. The Tea Board has also asked the government for amendment of the Tea Act, specially the Sections 12 and 14, to allow tea growers to avail maximum benefit from the Tea Board, Bhanu told small tea growers.
Bhanu also released a book, My Struggle My Life, written by Gangadhar Saikia, one of the pioneers in starting small tea plantations in Assam. Bhanu also inaugurated the launch of www.cista-india-net.in, the official website of the host body – the Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Asso-ciations.
The president of Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Associations, Vijay Gopal Chakraborty; Director of Tea Development, Tea Board of India, G Boriah; and Executive Director, Tea Board of India, NE region, Rakesh Saini, shared their thoughts on the formation of primary producer societies and on how small tea growers could be strengthened.