State government proposes 30 fold increase in land revenue for TEs
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 7: The Assam government has proposed to increase the land revenue of tea estates by 30 times, leaving the already beleaguered industry fuming.
Documents available with this newspaper revealed that the government has proposed to increase the land revenue of tea estates from the current Rs 22 to Rs 660 per bigha. The government has sought views from the tea estates on the proposal.
For ‘trade sites’, the government has proposed an increase of land revenue from Rs 200 to Rs 300.
For ‘industry and brick kilns’ the government has proposed an increase from Rs 500 to Rs 750 per bigha.
The proposal has been sent to all land holders, seeking objections, if any. The land holders have been asked to submit their objections before their respective commissioners.
The tea industry is up against the move, terming the proposal “arbitrary” and “ridiculous.”
“The industry is already facing so many hardships. The minimum wage issue is still hanging fire. There is uncertainty over the ration subsidy. The gardens are also staring at a shortage of fuel arising out of tiol Green Tribul’s ban on rat hole coal mining in Meghalaya. In such a situation, when the industry needed relief, the government intends to heap more burdens on it,” said an industry executive.
Last year, tea production in Assam fell significantly due to bad weather. The production dropped to 589.77 million kgs from 621.87 million kgs the previous year. According to latest projections, the production might drop in the first quarter of this year too.
It may be mentioned that in his budget speech for 2014-15, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had announced the proposal to enhance land revenue to Rs 30 per bigha per annum in case of agricultural land in rural areas. However, the State government said the matter is still under consideration of the Revenue & Disaster Magement Department.