GUWAHATI: With an aim to maintain a balance between demand and supply, the Tea Board of India has issued show-cause notices to 101 tea manufacturing units in Assam for excess production.
These manufacturing units have produced in excess of the permitted capacity mentioned/fixed against their registration certificates issued under the Tea (Marketing) Control Order (TMCO). Out of the 101 units, 56 are bought leaf factories and 45 are estate factories. A bought leaf factory is a unit that processes tea leaves purchased from gardens other than its owned ones. An estate factory processes tea leaves from its own gardens.
Citing examples of excess production sources in the Tea Board said a manufacturing unit in Upper Assam has produced 50,000kg tea crossing its permitted capacity. Another unit has produced 6 lakh kg in excess while yet another produced more than 20 lakh kg excess tea.
“Excess production has become a curse for the beleaguered tea industry as it leads to imbalance in demand and supply, bringing down the prices. The situation has reached such a pass that some teas are selling for as low as Rs 60 in the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre,” the source said.
The show-cause notices to the manufacturing units have asked them to explain as to why action for suspension/registration as provided under the Tea Act 1953 and TMCO 2003 should not be initiated. The TMCO 2015 says no registered manufacturer shall enhance production capacity of the existing factory without prior intimation and obtaining no-objection certificate from the Board.
The Tea Board has already initiated various measures to ensure quality production by tea manufacturing units of Assam including monitoring whether the tea manufacturing units are complying with its orders.
Excess production always results in flow of inferior teas to the market which harms name and fame of Assam tea. The board has already warned brokers operating at Guwahati Tea Auction Centre not to buy or sell inferior teas which according to the board is bound to reach the market.