Tea groups take their demands to Centre

JALPAIGURI, Dec. 9: The West Bengal unit of the Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Association (Cista) has decided to place several demands with the Centre for the development of the small tea holdings in West Bengal, on their 2nd Annual Body Meet on 14 December in Jalpaiguri.

After the formation of the Cista in 2007 at Kuttikanam of Idduki district in Kerala, the small tea growers are getting various facilities all over India excluding in West Bengal. Alleging so, Mr Bijay Gopal Chakraborty, vice-president of Cista said that the association is getting deprived from the productive policies of the Centre. “Last year the small tea growers produced 6 crore 80 lakh kg of tea, which was 30 per cent of the total tea produced in north Bengal. Moreover, West Bengal has over 15,000 small tea growers but neither the state government nor the Tea Board is taking proper care of the small growers,” Mr Chakraborty said.

“The Union minister of state for commerce and industry, Mr Jairam Ramesh, is expected in Jalpaiguri on 14 December for the inauguration of the Tea Board office in Jalpaiguri and to participate in our meet. We have decided to submit a memorandum to the minister comprising of our demands. The demands include issuance of plantation credit cards for small tea growers and setting up of economic relation between financial institutions and the small tea growers,” Mr Chakraborty added.