Agartala: Though plucking of leaves have started in all the tea gardens in Tripura, the industry is likely to face a serious crisis due to the non-availability of coal. It is learned that may factories in the gardens may have to be closed if coal is not available within the next few days.
Only a few tea factories are run by gas available in the State but the rest are fully dependent on coal coming from Meghalaya. There is no restriction on transportation of commodities but mining in Meghalaya remains closed due to the lockdown. The coal mined earlier also could not be transported as labourers are not available for loading and unloading.
Earlier, coal was imported from Bangladesh but that too has stopped as the quality was not satisfactory. Industry sources are apprehending an imminent closer of factories if sufficient coal is not stored before the onset of monsoon.
There are 54 major tea gardens in the State out of which 22 gardens have their own factories. Sources in the industry said 15 factories have already started functioning with their old stock of coal which is likely to be exhausted within the next few days. It is learned that some other industries depending on coal supply from Meghalaya also facing a similar problem.
Meanwhile, the industries department has issued a notice to all the tea gardens to inform about the status of their number of staff, sub-staff and workers and if their salary has been paid or not. It is learned that the letter was issued after receiving allegations that many of the gardens are yet to disburse salary to the workers fully or partly.