GUWAHATI, June 1 – Non-supply of gas by the Assam Gas Company Ltd (AGCL), following an agitational programme by an organisation blocking Oil India Ltd (OIL) pipelines, has hit production in the tea factories located in the five districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat and Golaghat. It is stated that production in most of the factories located in these five districts have come to a total halt due to non-supply of gas. Meanwhile AATSSA has lifted the OIL blockade following a meeting with the district administration in Tinsukia.
OIL is the supplier of gas and AGCL is the transporter of this gas to different industries, including the tea industry.
The Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA), the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) and the Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP) have said in a joint memorandum to the State’s Industries Minister that the tea factories using gas as fuel have stopped buying green tea leaf from today. It is feared that from tomorrow they will even have to stop plucking the leaves of their own gardens.
Most of the tea factories of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat and Golaghat districts, which account for about 45 per cent of the total tea factories of the State, run their dryers and weathering troughs (hot air) on gas supplied by the AGCL.
Even if gas supply is restored by Oil India Ltd (OIL), in that event also the AGCL will require some more time to build up pressure in their pipeline and the factories are not to get their supply restored instantaneously, said the ATPA, NETA and the BCP in their memorandum. They also urged the Minister to intervene into the matter urgently and bring an end to the impasse at the earliest.