Small tea growers demand

Small tea growers of north Bengal have threatened to start a movement after the Pujas, demanding that the state government speed up the process of issuing no-objection certificates (NOCs) to their plantations.

Most of the plantations were created by converting farmland or fallow land and the government needs to give a no objection to this change. The NOCs, in turn, will help the growers get registered with the tea board and avail of its financial assistance schemes.

“We will soon write to state government officials and ministers on the matter,” said Bijoygopal Chakraborty, the vice-chairman of the United Forum of Small Tea Growers’ Associations.

There are around 15,000 small growers in the region and they produce about 25 per cent of the state’s total yield. “Only 4,500 of them have NOCs for their plantations from the land and land reforms department,” said Chakraborty.

Currently, only 2,500 growers are registered with the tea board. The others are missing out on Rs 24,000 per year per grower paid by the board as subsidy, said forum chairman Partha Pratim Pal. More than 3,000 applications for NOCs are lying with the land and land reforms department.

Source: The Telegraph