Nearly 80 tea gardens located in the Barak Valley in Assam want the Assam Government to take up with the Union Government the issue of extension of transport subsidy under NEIIP (North East Industrial Incentive Plan) to the gardens located in the valley.

These gardens produce around 50 million kg annually, mostly CTC variety.

“The industries other than tea have benefited immensely from the transport subsidy granted to them under NEIIP scheme but not tea,” according to N.K. Bagla, Chairman of the Cachar Sub-Committee of Tea Association of India.

“This discrimination must end particularly to help Barak Valley tea that is already handicapped by location of the gardens in remote areas and low price realisation”.

Addressing the annual general meeting of the Cachar chapter of TAI at Silchar recently, he pointed out how transportation was proving to be major stumbling block for movement of inputs as well as made tea to auction centres and main markets outside the North-East.

Exports to Bangladesh

The scope of export of Barak Valley teas to Bangladesh, Bagla felt, should be explored due to several reasons.

First, the demand for tea in Bangladesh was steadily rising; next the average price at $4/kg in Bangladesh was remunerative and finally, low shipment cost due to physical proximity of the market which can be accessed by road from Cachar areas.

It would be a major breakthrough if Bangladesh market opened up for Barak Valley teas which did not have any export market at present.

(This article was published on February 5, 2013)
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