New Chairman for Siliguri Tea Auction Center

The Siliguri Tea Auction Centre has a new chairman in Mr SK Saria. He was elected the organisation’s top official in the STAC’s 28th and 29th annual general meeting today. Mr Anand Bansal is the STAC’s new vice- chairman.

Urging the state government and the Centre for a concerted effort to bail the tea industry out of the ongoing crisis, STAC outgoing chairman Mr Ravi Agarwal said: “Export facility needs to be revamped, tea producers would have to exercise quality control measures and the Union commerce ministry should institute workable and viable rules to boost tea trade.”

Pointing out that Kenya, which has been giving Indian teas a run for money, is suffering a drought, Mr Agarwal said: “This can lead to a massive price correction for Indian teas. Though it is an opportunity to set prices for Indian teas right, the gain is a short term one. The Indian tea industry will never fair well as long as the Centre allows import of tea,” he added.

According to the STAC outgoing chairman, the STAC has been nudging the 100 milion Kg sales mark for the past three years. “While 93 million Kgs were sold through the STAC in the year 2003, 102 million Kgs were sold in 2004. The figure came down to 95 million Kgs in 2005 and needs to be taken care of.”

Attributing the drop in the sales figure of 2005 to the closure of several tea plantations and the 15-day strike in the industry in the month of August, Mr Agarwal said: “I urge the producer members to offer maximum tea through auction in future.”

Ruing the continuing pilferage of teas during its movement from the warehouses, Mr Agarwal said: “Despite several representations to the authroities, coverage in the media and several other efforts, the crime continues unabated in broad daylight. It has to stop.” Advising the STAc authorities against engaging in administrtaive and other embroglio that in the past hurt sales at the STAC, the state urban development minister Mr Asok Bhattacharya urged the tea community to concentrate on quality production.”

Source > The Statesman