CTC tea by self-help groups

Siliguri: Start your day with a hot cup of Diya.

The first branded CTC tea to be merchandised by self-help groups (SHGs) of Siliguri has been named Diya and the project only awaits a formal inauguration now.

Under the project, perhaps for the first time in the country, SHGs will purchase roasted CTC tea from gardens and later from auctions, process it and sell it under a new brand name. Their target will be the middle-class and lower-middle class customers of Bengal.

“We have conducted a survey with the help of the district rural development cell and got satisfactory response from the market for such a brand,” Mani Thapa, the sabhadhipati of Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad, told reporters today. “Our aim is to maintain quality and at the same time make the product affordable.”

The mahakuma parishad will allow the SHG members to use its premises for processing, blending and packaging the tea. For marketing, a meeting was today held in the presence of urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya, representatives of different trade bodies like Focin, Jalpaiguri Merchants’ Association and different tea merchants’ organisations and officials of the sales tax and commercial tax departments.

Mithu Nandi, Mamata Roy and Swapna Chikbarai are members of three of the 30 SHGs that are collectively known as Jagriti Mahila Unnayan Sangha. The CTC tea project will start with this cluster of SHGs and Nandi, Roy and Chikbarai sounded excited, expressing happiness at being involved in something that can potentially improve their living standards.

“The main objective is to promote tea, which is a key factor in regulating the economy of this region. Besides, the project will also offer job opportunities to a large number of people,” said Biswajit Das, the secretary of Focin.

Source: The Telegraph