New logo for Dooar & Terai tea

Siliguri, April 29: The Tea Board of India plans to introduce a separate logo featuring an elephant to brand tea produced in the Terai and the Dooars.

The tea board had earlier come up with three logos — featuring a rhino, hills and a woman holding two leaves and a bud — to brand tea produced in Assam, the Nilgiris and Darjeeling, respectively.

“The new logo will feature an elephant standing against the backdrop of tea bushes. It will be similar to the logo for Assam tea (see picture),” Basudeb Banerjee, the tea board chairman, told The Telegraph over the phone from Bagdogra today.

“We expect to bring out the logo by the end of this year,” Banerjee added.

All varieties of tea, be it CTC, orthodox or value-added, produced in the region will carry the logo indicating the geographic location of production, sources said.

Banerjee had come to north Bengal to inaugurate a Rs 3-crore state-of-the-art tea factory built by a tea major in a garden on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri town. He also visited the self-help groups (SHGs) formed by the small tea growers of the region.

“We have decided to open an office in Jalpaiguri, which will operate under the board’s Siliguri office, to help stakeholders here,” Banerjee said. “The office will be particularly helpful for small tea growers.”

The board has also initiated the task of upgrading the tea research station (TRA) at Nagrakata and plans to open a full-fledged training centre there.

“Currently, planters, their staff and small growers have to go to the TRA headquarters in Assam’s Tocklai, to get trained in tea production,” the chairman said. “We have decided to open a similar training centre in Nagrakata to meet the demand of the north Bengal tea industry. The Darjeeling tea research centre in Kurseong will get around Rs 5 crore so that it can be developed into a centre of excellence. Funds for all these have been earmarked under the 11th five-year plan.”

Banerjee said the tea board has “a series of schemes available to help small growers”. “It was nice to see that some SHGs in Mainaguri area are saving money from each kilo of tealeaves they sell to raise a capital for building a mini factory. The board is there to provide them with 40 per cent subsidy,” he added.

The chairman was also optimistic of seeing a good year for the industry, considering the rise in prices and stability in production.

“There had been some initial losses in March, but it has been compensated in the current month. Prices are on the higher side and we expect a good year ahead,” Banerjee said.