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Tea planters urge the Tea board to provide guidelines for tea waste export

NETA stated that Tea Board has fixed the capacity of each factory. The capacity is fixed based on eight working hours per day.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Aug 02, 2019, 04.34 PM IST
Guwahati: Tea planters urge the Tea board to provide guidelines for tea waste export. A delegation of Tea planter association, North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) met Arun Kumar Ray, Deputy Chairman, Tea Board.

In a memorandum the NETA stated, “We are aware that as per the Tea Waste (Control) Order, 1959, we are supposed to declare a minimum of 2% of our production as tea waste. But we have practically found that the tea waste can be as low as below 1% and at times may go up to 3% and above – it all depends upon the fine percentage of green leaf and manufacturing process. Moreover Madras High Court through its order dated 22/02/2013 has fixed 0.20% as tea waste instead of 2%. We therefore request your good office not to force us to declare 2% as tea waste and instead it should be on actual.”

The organisation added, “Please accept our gratitude for allowing export of tea waste. This can be a game changer for tea industry. Tea waste can be used for many other industries including cosmetic industry. We have not yet received any guidelines from Tea Board in regard to tea waste export. It will be of great help if guideline is issued at an early date. The tea waste licence needs to be renewed every year which at times is very cumbersome. A board meeting of the Tea Board took a decision to recommend to the Commerce Ministry regarding renewal of licence in every three years.

It will be ease of doing business if renewal of tea waste licence is not at all required and to start with at least the validity of tea waste licence should be for three years as decided in a board meeting of the Tea Board, the organisation added.

NETA added “We know that under FSSAI, we must get our teas tested twice in a year i.e. once in six months at a FSSAI accredited laboratory. Tea Board also collects samples from factory at times and send it for testing for which the factory is asked to pay. Many a time the test reports take longer time and we are not allowed to sell those teas till getting of test reports. These teas are finally sold at a much lower price because buyer considers it as Purana Chai (old tea) which they can easily find out from the lot numbers and date of packaging. We request your good office to enforce FSSAI norms of testing teas once in six months and those who abide by this norm should not be asked to pay for additional testing.”

NETA said that this year market scenario of tea is very different from last few years. “Teas are selling at a very slow pace and at times we are forced to sell below cost of production. We are seriously worried that this year most of us will have to bear loss.”

The organisation informed,“ you are aware that green leaf price fluctuates from time to time. Our Association is always against the low green leaf price. Buyers are well aware of existing green leaf price and based on that they offer price for made tea. Therefore low green leaf price does not help the manufacturers. The made tea price of North Bengal has a cascading affect on the made tea price of Assam’s Tinsukia district and thus the green leaf price at North Bengal has a cascading effect on green leaf price of Tinsukia which then impacts the price of green leaf of Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat and Golaghat districts.”

NETA stated that Tea Board has fixed the capacity of each factory. The capacity is fixed based on eight working hours per day. But it is not illegal to run two shifts with two different sets of people.The quantity of green leaf supplied by a grower are not equal every year. Therefore we cannot reject green leaf of a grower who supplies green leaf to us regularly. Moreover green leaf production is increasing every year. It is in fact someone’s efficiency if he can produce more quantity in a particular year with the same set of machinery.

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