Tea Board to rap companies for defaults

July 6th, 2008 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Mejia (West Bengal), July 6 (IANS) The Tea Board ofr India would shortly issue notices to five tea exporters for not adhering to quality and quantity commitment for Iraq consignment, said a union minister here Sunday. Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh, who has come to visit Damodar Valley Corp (DVC) plant at Mejia in Bankura district of West Bengal, said: “We have asked the chairman of Tea Board, Basudeb Banerjee, to issue show-cause notices to five tea companies that have defaulted on quality and quantity commitments with Iraqi tea traders.”

The companies that did not adhere to commitments include Balmer Lawrie and Ambo Exports. This has happened just after the payment problems between Indian exporters and Iraqi tea traders have resolved.

“I had personally taken interest in resolving the payments issue. I should appreciate the cooperation shown by traders from Iraq in solving the problem. However, I was disturbed to learn that Indian tea exporters have defaulted on quantity and quality commitments. This, I feel, should be taken up firmly, and I have therefore asked the Tea Board to issue show-cause notices,” said Ramesh.

India exported about 40 million kg of tea a year to Iraq before 2006. But immediately after the payment crisis started, the exports plummetted to two million kg in 2007-08.

The central government has decided to reopen the tea-marketing centre. It is likely to be opened by the middle of August by the United Planters Association of South India (UPASI), which would help increase export volume.

India exports about 180 to 190 million kg of tea every year. The figure is expected to remain same in 2008-09. In 2006, the Indian tea export stood at 219 million kg.

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