L.N. Revathy

Coimbatore, Aug 29

THE Tea Board has burnt 2,500 kgs of substandard tea near the auction hall in Coonoor.

The teas drawn from the various factories were destroyed completely as they had failed to pass the PFA norms. The Board has resorted to such an action for the first time.

The Board's action surprised sellers but they did not resist the move.

For some time now, the trade has been complaining about the quality of teas being offered at auction. These substandard teas, they said, pulled down the price of quality offerings as well.

Meanwhile, trade disruption has resulted in the offers not being subscribed in full. The catalogued quantities at Coonoor last week stood at 16.01 lakh kgs, of which reprint quantity alone was more than half at 6.74 lakh kg.

Fails to impact auctions

P.S. Sundar reports from Coonoor: The burning of the 2,500 kg of the teas alleged to have failed the BIS standards by the Tea Board authorities in Coonoor even as the auctions were going on at the Coonoor Tea Trade Association (CTTA) failed to leave any impact at the auctions with the prices of some leaf and dust grades continuing to dip to Rs 20 a kg.

The teas that were burnt were out of those whose price valuations were Rs 20-25 and the effort was to rid the market of the sub-standard teas.

"Teas had been sold for these prices in the last couple of months and the sudden burning this week did not impact the market at all", an auctioneer told Business Line.

Although 16.02 lakh kg were offered for sale, only around 5,000 kg could be sold for prices above Rs 60 a kg.

The demand continued to be sluggish. There were heavy withdrawals.

Madhu Jayanthi purchased for the CIS markets. Most exporters were seen to be active on the medium and plainer grades. Exporters to CIS supported teas up to Rs 33 a kg, while those for Iraq up to Rs 30. Pakistani buyers were selective insisting on quality grades. They paid up to Rs 33 a kg - some Rs 5-7 lower than the previous weeks.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 30, 2005)
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