|Revamp of Tea Board criticised|
DIBRUGARH, Nov 9 - Reacting to the Union Government’s reconstitution of the Tea Board, the All India Manufacturers’ Organisation (AIMO-Tea Division) and the Assam Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturers’ Association (ABLTMA) jointly said that the Union Government had once again neglected Assam’s tea industry.
“The biased approach of the Union Government towards Assam’s tea industry continues. We regret that the small tea growers numbering more than 1,25,000 in Assam – who along with the Bought Leaf Factories have greatly contributed to the economic activity, gainful employment and curbing of extremist activities in the tea-growing districts of Assam – have both been once again discriminated against in the formation of the Tea Board of India. The Government of India has not appointed any member from the Bought Leaf Tea Industry segment – which contributes more than 35% of the total Indian tea production. During Season 2014, the small tea growers contributed more than 41% of the annual crop of Assam and the Bought Leaf Factories contributed nearly 30% of Assam’s annual production of approximately 600 million kg,” Chand Gohain, Chairman, ABLTMA said.
This apathetic attitude of the Union Government in denying adequate representation to the small tea growers and the bought leaf industry of Assam is reflective of the continued nexus between the multinational tea companies and the Tea Board of India, he said.
The ABLTMA chairman and Deven Singh, chairman, AIMO-Tea Division – who have been jointly in the forefront to protect and safeguard the interests of the Bought Leaf Tea Industry have condemned this approach of the Tea Board of India in denying recognition and representation and continuing to intend to decide matters concerning the tea industry, without involving the bought leaf tea factory segment – which has contributed to providing employment opportunities to the local youths and economic prosperity.