Relentless Heavy rain has put tea industry in West Bengal under dwindling condition

Economy


SILIGURI: Relentless heavy shower has put tea plantations in Bengal foothills under deep trouble while entire state is suffering from heavy deficit of rainfall. Hit by heavy production loss, planters demanded involvement of state Disaster Management cell to tackle the situation.

Statewide heavy deficit of 41% in rainfall during the period 1st June to 10th of July has come up as a stark contrast to the situation of tea belt in Dooars and Terai foothills of Bengal adjoining to hilly state Sikkim. The Himalayan state Sikkim has recorded 35% excess rainfall during this period.

Over this, warning of Meteorology Department for heavy to very heavy rainfall in next couple of days in sub Himalayan West Bengal has made entire tea belt highly concerned.

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“On an average 10-13 inch rainfall at many tea plantation areas in foothills during last couple of days has developed trouble from different angles. Power failure, road disruptions, communication trouble, all put together has made the situation too difficult,” said S. Guhathakurata, Secretary, Dooars Branch of Indian Tea Association.

“In addition, workers absenteeism has gone up to as high as 50% heavily pulling down green leaf output volume,” he added.

Equally concerned with the situation, Secretary General of Tea Association of India P. K. Bhattacharya explained, “June, July, Aug is the peak season for tea that gives us near 50% of our annual output. But hit by the overall adverse situation, production rate has gone down to as low as 25% at many gardens.” Total around 1 lakh hectare plantation area in Dooars and Terai region in foothills as well as Darjeeling hills produces around 380 million kg of processed tea a year. It is near one third of the national annual output.

“The industry is undergoing a grim phase due to escalated production cost, low price realization and many other issues. This adverse weather situation is a major additional worry,” said Guhathakurata. “At this juncture, state Disaster Management Cell must get involved into the gardens in order to protect the green beverage that stands as a major pillar of economy for the entire region,” he urged.



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