From a Correspondent
Dibrugarh, February 25: Due to the proposed repairing of gas pipelines in the harkatia-Moran section between the months of March to June, almost 2 lakh Small Tea Growers (STGs) of Tinsukia district are expected to be affected as supply of gas to the tea manufacturing factories will remain suspended during the repairing period.
As the 12 steel pipelines in harkatia –Moran section will go through in-depth check-up and fixing through intelligent pigging, gas supply will remain suspended during this period for which the Assam Gas Company Limited has informed all the tea factories in the harkatia- Moran division. The Small Tea Growers have apprehended that almost 13 bought leaf tea factories and tea estate factories that obtain leaves from the STGs in that region have to be shut down due to lack of gas supply.
In this regard, the All Assam Small Tea Grower’s Association (AASTGA) has stated that March- June being the peak seasons for tea industries, the growers during this time fetch high prices for good quality of green tea leaves, and as such temporary closure of the tea factories may cause instability among the small tea growers. AASTGA has further stated that people’s lives would be affected as tea cultivation was the main source of their income. Adding more to this, AASTGA has said that affording of diesel generators may not be possible for the bought leaf tea factories as this may increase the cost of production.
In a letter written to MGVK Bhanu, the Additiol Chief Secretary, Government of Assam, the leaders of AASTGA have requested the State Government to hold talks with the authorities concerned for shifting the timing of the repair period to the month of December or arrange for an alterte pipeline for the gas supply.
The organization of Small Tea Growers has even urged upon the State Government to ensure that small tea growers are not affected by the repair works to be carried out by Assam Gas Company Limited. They have even written to the Secretary of Petrol and tural Gas Regulatory Board Authorities in Delhi to give their undertaking in relation to the issue of continuous gas supply to the tea factories.