Modernization of tea business by tea board

The tea board is out to modernize the entire process of conducting brew business in the Dooars. Introducing e-auction is a step towards it.

“While we begin with the electronic auction of tea, we plan to carry out an overhaul of the entire system (of conducting business),” said Roshni Sen, the deputy chairman of the Tea Board here today. “It would make no sense in having a high-tech auction system if, for example, the warehouses are not state of the art.”

Accompanied by H.N. Dwibedi, consultant to the tea board, Sen was here with a three-member team from NSCiT, the information-technology arm and a fully-owned subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange. The NSCiT has been engaged by the board to prepare the software and create the infrastructure needed for the new system.

“We are here to take the opinion of all the stakeholders of the industry so that we are able to design a modernization plan to suit the needs of each of them,” Sen said.

This is the board’s second attempt at electronic bidding. Two years ago, it had introduced e-bidding in a phase-wise manner but the initiative was scrapped altogether after the software developed by then consultant proved faulty.

“Our earlier experience threw up a lot of problems, issues and defects,” Sen said. “We would want to use the experience to our advantage this time.”

Dwibedi said the initiative will be much more than just electronic-bidding. “Not just bidding, the new system will integrate the pre-auction, auction and post-auction processes,” he added.

In the e-auction system, it will not be mandatory for a buyer to be physically present at the auction center. He will be able to participate in the auction process through a unique user ID via a computer. “Registered members of a particular center will also be able to keep a tab on the trends of other centers though they may not be able to participate initially,” Dwibedi said.

NSCiT will be preparing a business requirement specification in the next 270 days.

“Once the system is developed, we will introduce it as a pilot project at the Calcutta auction center,” Dwibedi said. “Then we will introduce it in five other centers, including Siliguri.”

However, the board has no immediate plans for introducing electronic-bidding at the North Bengal Tea Auction Center in Jalpaiguri.

Source: The Telegraph