“If the gardens were opened today we would have been able to salvage 40% of the first flush teas which is the largest revenue earner for Darjeeling tea industry. The chief minister has now sought time. If the gardens reopen in Wednesday then we could still salvage 15% -20% of the first flush crop. A further delay will completely ruin the first flush teas,” said Kaushik Basu, secretary Darjeeling Tea Association.
“However, we are hopeful that an early decision will be taken by the Bengal government,” said Basu.
There are 300 tea estates in Dooars region of north Bengal that produce around 400 million kg of teas. This is the time for first flush tea production in Dooars as well. Nearly, 100 million kg of first flush teas is produced in Dooars.
The tea industry has also made an appeal to the Assam government to allow starting of tea production in the state. “We are waiting to hear from the Assam government,” said Vivek Goenka, chairman of Indian Tea Association.
If the gardens remain close during the entire 21-day lockdown then the crop loss in Assam and West Bengal will be around 100 -120 million kg of teas. The loss in value terms will be Rs 1400- Rs 1500 crore.