Tea production halts in five Assam districts

June 1st, 2012 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, June 1 (IANS) Three prominent tea growers’ organisations in Assam have sought Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi’s intervention over the halt in tea production in five districts.

The production came to a halt Thursday in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat and Golaghat following non-supply of gas by the Assam Gas Co Ltd (AGCL) to the tea estates.

Industry experts say the state is losing production of about 1 million kg of tea daily due to the crisis.

Most tea factories in the five districts, which also account for about 45 percent of the total tea factories of Assam, run their Dryers and Weathering Troughs (hot air) on gas supplied by AGCL.

The gas supply has been disrupted due to a 72-hour blockade by Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association (ATTSA) demanding a Rs.100 crore package from the company for the development of tea community and 30 percent reservation for posts of grade IV employees for local youths in the firm.

The Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA), the North East Tea Association (NETA) and Bharatiya Chah Parishad (BCP) approached the power minister seeking his immediate intervention.

“June is the time for high priced second flush of tea, and we are losing not less than one million kg of tea every day,” NETA chairman Bidyananda Borkakoty told IANS.

“Most factories have stopped buying green leaf and will have to stop plucking of leaf in their own gardens. Tea leaves are perishable.”

Barkakoty warned that the industry will be hit very hard if immediate steps were not taken by the government to end the crisis.

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