|Small tea growers’ body alleges Centre’s apathy|
DIBRUGARH, Dec 21 - The small tea growers have expressed concern over the failure of the Government of India to implement the envisaged schemes for the development of small tea growers in the unorganized sector.
Hemanta Gohain, former general secretary of the All Assam Small Tea Growers’ Association (AASTGA), said the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry was sympathetic towards the major tea companies. “Since 2012-13, the big tea companies in the organised sector had received about Rs 700 crore as financial grants, whereas the small tea growers received only Rs 55.55 crore despite producing around one sixth of the total tea in the country. Besides, in the year 2016-2017 no fund was released for the small growers,” alleged Gohain.
The association has said that an amount of Rs 1,425 crore was envisaged in the 12th Five Year Plan for the tea industry, of which Rs 200 crore was recommended for development of the small tea grower sector.
Rohit Borgohain, general secretary of the association, has urged the Centre that all existing incomplete schemes related to the development of this sector must be implemented with new modalities and transparency. The association has also felt that since the small tea grower sector of Assam produces around one sixth of the total tea produced in India, at least 16-17 percent of the budgeted allocation may be allocated for the development of the small tea sector of Assam.