Nepal Tea in the name of Darjeeling Tea

The brand equity of Darjeeling tea has suffered in the hands of unscrupulous dealers selling Nepal tea in the name of the premium brand.

The concern was voiced by none other than Peter A. Leggatt, the chairman of Goodricke Group, who was here to participate in the inauguration of a new building of Goodricke School of Special Education.

“The tea coming from Nepal, which tastes almost the same as the Darjeeling variety, is being marketed worldwide as Darjeeling tea,” Leggatt told reporters. “Such a practice by a handful of unscrupulous traders is causing considerable damage to the repute of the Darjeeling tea.”

Though Leggatt said he was unaware of the amount of tea from outside (Nepal and Sri Lanka) being sold in the name of the world-famous brew, he called for immediate steps to be initiated in checking the malpractice.
He welcomed the Tea Board move to accord geographic-indicator status to Darjeeling tea. “It is a very positive step taken by the Tea Board, which has been very active on this issue,” he said.

The Darjeeling tea has been granted the geographic indicator status under the Good Registering and Protection Act. According to the Act, tea coming from only the 87 Darjeeling gardens, of which just 70 are operational, would be able to market their produce as “Darjeeling tea.”

Though no official estimates have been made about how much tea is being sold in the name of Darjeeling tea, it has been reported from several quarters that the volume of “non-Darjeeling tea” is quite high. Unofficial estimates have revealed that though the Darjeeling hills produce only about 9-10 million kg of tea every year, the “Darjeeling” tea sold worldwide is to the tune of 40 million kg annually.

“Some of the producers in the hills need to clean up their acts first,” said S.K. Saria, a planter and the chairman of Siliguri Tea Auction Committee.

“We are aware that a good number of producers are involved in procuring tea from Nepal and selling them off in the name of the Darjeeling brand, but we can do little to check the practice,” he added.

Source > The Telegraph

Leopard strikes a tea worker

Another worker at the Kalchini tea estate in the Alipurduar subdivision was mauled by a leopard today.

This was second such incident to have occurred at the same estate within four days.
Budhu Oraon (45), who was injured critically in the back and chest, was first admitted to the Latabari health centre and later shifted to the Alipurduar hospital.

Following two consecutive attacks in the same area of the estate, workers of the estate no longer feel safe to go out in the garden. They are even annoyed with the forest officials, who, they claim, have failed to ensure their security. “After one of our friends was attacked by a leopard last Saturday, forest staff had promised to set up a cage here because leopards usually come back to the spot of attack,” said Omdas Oraon. “The cage is, however, yet to arrive though four days have passed since then.”

According to the workers, Oraon was busy pruning the bushes, when the leopard, which had entered the garden with its cub, sprang on him from behind. Alarmed by Oraon’s screams, his colleagues rushed to the spot and started bursting crackers, which scared the animal back into the forest. “Nowadays, we carry crackers with us whenever we go to work in the garden,” said Bikash Mahali, a labourer at the estate.

According to the field director of Buxa Tiger Reserve, L.G. Lepcha, the leopard had entered the garden in search of easy preys. “This leopard had a cub with it, which made it obvious why it had entered the estate — it was looking for an easy prey,” he said.

Regarding the delay in setting up of the cage, he promised to start an inquiry about it. “I will see to it that the cage is set up by today,” Lepcha said. “Our staff will also patrol the place round the clock and villagers have also volunteered to help us.”

Source > The Telegraph

Recent Rains brings Hope

After the brief spell of thundershower in Darjeeling town and parts of the Dooars yesterday evening, people across the North Bengal districts, reeling under a dry spell, are looking up to the sky hoping for more such spells but prolonged in the coming days.

Unlike the normal weather conditions, this year, the entire North Bengal region is witnessing an absence of seasonal rainfall since winter. The prolonged absence of rainfall has made life all the more difficult with acute water scarcity especially in the Hills.

In Kalimpong and Kurseong, the exhausted public even resorted to road blockade demanding early solution to the scarcity of drinking water there. But the authorities, as of now, ended up looking up to the heaven as the people continue to suffer.

Tea gardens and agricultural lands in the region have also been severely affected due to the absence of rainfall. The tea industry has already reported a sharp fall in productivity as compared to the same time last year. As per the industry experts, if the weather remains static, there is every possibility of the tea plants getting parched up. Amid all this, yesterday evening’s brief spell has brought an indication that a downpour might not be too far. Scientists of the Weather Observation Centre (WOC) at the North Bengal University also raised hopes in this regard.

“The Western disturbances currently visible have created a conducive atmosphere for a downpour throughout the eastern region. In all probability, North Bengal districts would experience heavy rainfall within a week,” said Mr S Sarkar of the WOC.

However, Mr Sarkar added that like the one in Darjeeling and Dooars yesterday, there would also be some scattered thundershower in different parts of the region in the next 24 to 36 hours. The maximum temperature in Siliguri was today recorded at 29.2 degree Celsius as compared to 32.9 degree Celsius yesterday. The humidity conditions also improved from 96.5 per cent yesterday to 71.5 per cent today.

Source > The Statesman