JORHAT, July 15: State Labour Minister Pallav Lochan Das, during his address as the chief guest on the occasion of the 81st Annual General Meeting of Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA) held at the Jorhat Gymkhana Club, called upon the veteran members of ATPA and tea planters to cooperate with the government to solve the crisis in the tea industry and to plug the loopholes between the management and workers for the greater benefit and development of the tea industry. He reiterated that small tea growers played a pivotal role in the economic uplift of the State. Tea planters from various organizations like ABITA, NETA and NBTA as well as veteran planters Prabhat Kamal Bezbaruah, Arun Thekedar, Bidyanand Borkakoty, Dr. Nazrana Ahmed, Gautam Barooah, Rajib Baraooah and Raj Barooah raised the issues of increase in cost of production and increase of 30 per cent cess which has been imposed only for Assam.
Moreover, NETA chief Bidyananda Borkakoty said that there was an imbalance in demand and supply in the tea industry. He said that due to coloured tea the consumption of tea had gone down. He said that India had a large domestic market but per capita consumption was very less. The NETA chief said that focus should be on increasing the per capita consumption of tea in the domestic market.
Earlier, Prabhat Kamal Bezbaruah, the chairman of the Tea Board of India, spoke about various issues plaguing the tea industry. Arun Thekadar, outgoing chairman of ATPA, welcomed the new chairperson Dr Nazrana Ahmed. Five tea gardens under ATPA were awarded for their outstanding performance in tea production. Trophies and mementos was handed over to the recipients by Pallav Lochan Das.