Alternative farming on closed tea estates

Alternative farming on the vacant land of closed estates in the Dooars may improve their condition, feels the Jalpaiguri district administration.

At a review meeting held at the district collectorate today to assess the progress of work in closed tea gardens, the officials decided to compile a list of non-workers at the estate and distribute Antodaya Annapurna Yojana cards among garden residents.

“The public health engineering department has been directed to install tubewells in every closed garden by March 31,” said B.L. Meena, the divisional commissioner of Jalpaiguri, after the meeting. “We are sure to cover up to 80 per cent of the target of the 100-day work scheme by the end of the financial year. In some places, it may even be 100 per cent.”

In New Delhi, a five-member team of United Forum of Small Tea Growers’ Associations, today met Jairam Ramesh (in picture), the Union minister of state for commerce and industries, and Basudeb Banerjee, the chairman of Tea Board of India.

“Both the chairman and the minister promised us that they would look into and decide on issues like fixing quality parameters, introducing prototype small-scale bought-leaf factories and forming the small growers’ development authority at the national level,” said Bijoygopal Chakrobarty, the convener of the association, over phone from Delhi.

Source: The Telegraph