Green energy plan for tea industry

Kolkata: Renewable energy is all set to be used in the tea industry to reduce manufacturing costs and maintain ecological balance in the Darjeeling Hills, Dooars and Assam. The Tea Board of India and West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation (WBGEDC) have jointly decided to prepare a package, to be submitted to the Centre.

WBGEDC managing director S P Gonchoudhuri said they held a meeting with tea board officials and several tea associations to discuss adoption of green energy in tea gardens. “We and the tea board will prepare a plan, which will be submitted to the Centre. The package will seek to reduce existing levels of energy consumption to maintain the eco-system of the Hills,” he said.

Indian Tea Association secretary-general Monojit Dasgupta said they were very interested in using renewable energy sources in the tea industry. “The use of solar energy in the industry was planned earlier, too, but the usage cost was high. Now, there are subsidy schemes available for these energy sources,” he said.

Gonchoudhuri said the eco-system of the Dooars, Assam and Darjeeling is being affected due to deforestation and pollution caused by tea factories. “Besides, the cost of manufacturing tea should also be reduced. Solar, bio-fuel and micro-hydel energy could be effectively used,” he said.

Officials said trucks bring in firewood to the factories that produce tea, thereby increasing vehicular pollution and deforestation. If renewable energies are adopted, a great amount of diesel could be saved, apart from reducing deforestation and vehicular pollution, they added.