Tea Official to Deal with Tea matters

North Bengal is famous for its production of tea. Acknowledging the tea industry’s importance, the state government has decided to appoint a tea official at Jalpaiguri who will exclusively deal with tea related matters.

Now that the appointment has been sanctioned by the state cabinet, it is a matter of time before the WBCS rank official is appointed at the Jalpaiguri divisional commissioner’s office. Tea industry officials, attending a review meeting on the recommendations of the tea committee convened by commerce and industry minister Mr Nirupam Sen in Kolkata, were informed of the development yesterday.

“Several other issues related to land, labour, ration, closed and abandoned plantations, modernisation of tea plantations, sale of tea through PDS and small growers, were discussed in the meeting,” principal adviser to Indian Tea Planters’ Association Mr NK Basu said.

According to him, it has been decided that renewal of lease for established plantations would have to be done within 90 days from the expiry of the previous lease. “Any delay in granting the lease would have to be reported to appropriate authorities along with suitable explanation,” he added.

Responding to the small growers’ demand for an immediate survey of the small tea holdings, Mr Sen instructed that a format, prepared by the commerce department, should reach the Tea Board within a fortnight and the survey should begin immediately thereafter.

“The Tea Board would be financing the survey. The survey is extremely important for the small growers since it would bring forth the actual number of small growers, the categories they belong to, the quantity of land being used by the small growers and the tentative quantity of tea produced and manufactured by this section,” the United Forum of Small Tea Growers’ Association secretary, Mr Bijoygopal Chakrabarty, said.

According to him, 5,333 small tea growers have applied for lease and no objection certificates. “Out of those only 2,453 cases have been disposed off so far. The minister has therefore urged the land department to complete the survey and grant NOC within 90 days to plantations under 25 acre on retained land and to regularise those which are beyond 50 acres and above ceiling holdings,” he added.

Source: The Statesman