Tea Board proposes Rs 100 cr package for Darjeeling gardens
Kolkata: The Tea Board has submitted a Rs 100-crore package proposal to the Centre for the Darjeeling tea industry, which is readying restart of operations after the prolonged shutdown in the hills.
The Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA), however, had sought a much higher package to compensate for the revenue loss and for payments to workers till the start of next production.
"We have submitted a Rs 100-crore package proposal to the commerce ministry for helping the crisis-ridden Darjeeling tea industry, which had faced total production loss during the shutdown period," Tea Board Chairman P K Bezbaruah told PTI.
The money sought is to prune the overgrown tea bushes, he said. Bezbaruah, however, said it would be not possible for the government to reimburse the losses of the 87-odd tea gardens of Darjeeling.
"In Dooars and South India, small growers are being hit the hardest due to fall in green leaf prices. They are being paid only carrying cost (diesel) prices of green leaf to the factories," he said.
The entire Darjeeling premium second and monsoon flushes had been destroyed due to the shutdown, although the tea gardens never announced any closure due to it. The workers did not report for duty during the period.
Although the strike has been lifted, massive absenteeism among the workers affected cleaning-up operations in the gardens.
"Nearly 60 per cent of the total workers did not report for duty after the bandh was lifted," a DTA official had recently said.