Printer affected by Dooars tea gardens

The gasping tea sector has hit the printing industry hard.

Since 2001, most printing presses in the Dooars have stopped getting orders from the gardens, which earlier used to print their annual reports and brochures from them.

More than 13 estates are closed and many that are open are either sick or on the brink of closing.

There are 45 printing presses with 250 employees and more than 1,500 direct dependants.

The owner of Popular Printing Press, Barun Kumar Mitra, alleged that most garden owners are now getting their work done from offset printing presses in Calcutta.

“As a result, we cannot afford to keep our presses open. I had four employees till 2002 and used to pay them Puja bonus. Now there is only one left,” Mitra said.

He added that in the Dooars area there are 45 letter presses and all of them are very old. “These establishments used to bag 50 per cent of the printing orders from the gardens but now they get less than five per cent,” Mitra said.

Along with outdated technology, the problem of the closed tea gardens has also contributed to the losses of the printing press owners.

“We have heard about the fresh injection of funds into the tea industry and that is the only reason why I am still in this profession,” said Ratan Das, an employee of a letter press.

But the technically backward letter presses are not the only victims.

Apash Dey, the owner of Dey Printing Press in Hasimara, said he had been connected with the business for a decade. He had taken a bank loan of Rs 5 lakh in 2000 to set up an offset printing press.

“Orders have fallen drastically though I tried to keep pace with the technological advancement,” Dey said.

Krishnapada Basubal, a member of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in North Bengal (Focin), said most businesses were affected due to the condition of the tea industry.

Source: The Telegraph