MP calls for steps to revive recession-hit tea industry

Darjeeling: CPM Rajya Sabha MP from Darjeeling Saman Pathak said in Parliament on Sunday that the tea
industry has been affected by the global
meltdown and that urgent measures must be taken to save the industry. Sunday was International Tea Day.

Pathak urged the government to impose export regulations and formulate a master plan to save the tea industry from the crisis. The increasing influence of brokers, who manipulate the price of tea export, was also affecting the tea industry, he said.

Pathak urged the government to replace old tea bushes, as these had outlived their utility and had poor productivity. He said adequate facilities must be provided to the garden workers and their interests safeguarded.

"It is difficult to ascertain the quantity and market worth of the Indian tea that is exported, as private companies with support of brokers sell off nearly 60% of the produce outside the ambit of auction centers. Tea must be exported through auction centers to overcome this problem." said Pathak.

Western countries, such as the UK, USA, Germany and Japan are major tea markets, especially for Darjeeling tea. The demand in international market last year was 178.75 million kg, is much less than previous years.

Pathak said that in the last few years, some of these tea importers had drastically cut down imports, due to a series of "unavoidable" circumstances. A new policy for market management must be adopted to increase export in international markets, as the measures taken by the government are not adequate, he said.

From - Times of India