By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, May 20: The tea lobby in Assam is pressing for inclusion of 'Tea' as a chapter in NCERT school textbooks, citing that the beverage is not only a commodity but a culture in Assam which has contributed to economic growth and social progress.
Following separate letters written to Union HRD minister Smriti Zubin Irani by Jorhat MP Kamakhya Tasa and advisor of the North Eastern Tea Association Bidyanda Barkakoty, the tiol Council of Educatiol Research and Training (NCERT) has said the matter will be placed before the Textbook Development Committee.
"The tiol Education Policy is in the process of formulation. As a follow-up of the policy, curriculum framework and other teaching learning materials will be developed. This (inclusion of Tea as a chapter in school textbooks) will be placed before the Textbook Development Committee," the NCERT said.
In his letter, the Jorhat MP said tea is the only beverage in the India "which has its roots in the India's freedom struggle. "The first Indian tea planter, Maniram Dewan was an early patriot because he was involved in the rebellion against the British in 1857 and was subsequently hanged by the British," Tasa said.
Tasa also said tea provides direct employment to over 1 million people besides providing backward linkages for livelihood to over 10 million others.
NETA advisor Bidyanda Barkakoty said tea is indigenous to India.
"50 per cent of the workers in tea gardens are women and hence Indian tea industry is the largest employer of women. 83 percent of the households in India consume tea, while the penetration of tea in Indian households is in the range of 96-99 percent," he said in his letter.
"In Assam, tea is not just a product or commodity; tea is a culture - a culture steeped in history, and a history replete with highlights of development and contribution to economic growth and social progress," he said, adding that the 190-year-old industry has a glorious past which the students should know.