Final chance to closed tea garden owners

The Centre will give a final chance to owners of closed tea estates before acquiring their gardens under the Tea Act.

The Tea Board of India today said a one-to-one meeting would be held with each of the planters, along with their respective bankers, on the first week of September in Calcutta.

“The purpose is to get a final feedback from their side before acquiring the gardens,” G. Boriah, the director (tea development), tea board, told The Telegraph over phone from Calcutta. “The meeting will be on September 5 and we will want to know from the owners if they have found a way out to open their estates. The response would be forwarded to the Union government for further action.”

Jairam Ramesh, the Union minister of state for commerce and industry, had at the end of July announced that planters would have to either open their gardens within August 31 or hand them over to the Centre, which will in turn search for new investors.

Boriah said a committee headed by O.P. Arya, the additional secretary (plantations) of the Union commerce and industries ministry, has been formed to work on the issue. The other members who will be in the panel include Basudeb Banerjee, chairman of the tea board, secretaries of finance, labour and commerce and industry from the state, and bankers. “The Union government will issue a notification announcing the formation of the committee soon,” Boriah said.

About the roadmap that the committee is likely to follow in acquiring the gardens, the tea board official said: “In case it is found that all or some of the owners have failed to come up with anything positive, the panel will issue advertisements seeking expression of interest from prospective entrepreneurs.”

Source: The Telegraph