The decision of the Union Ministry to lower the price of tea bought through public auction has landed small scale tea growers in the soup. Speaking to ENe, Manoj Das, a tea grower from Silchoori Tea Estate in Cachar said, ‘The decision of the Union government will have a negative impact on small tea growers, as we have to face severe loss.’ He explained that earlier they were allowed to sell 70% of their produce through public auction whereas now it has been reduced to 50%; this indicates an exact 20% loss in total revenue.
‘Due to erratic weather conditions, tea production in the State has declined drastically,’ he further said, adding, ‘Now with the new policy, I don’t know what will happen to me and my family’. It is to be noted that as per information provided by the State government, annual tea production is decreasing every year by 5%.
However, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has strongly opposed the Centre’s move, ‘The State will always work for the better interest of marginalised farmers and small tea planters,’ he assured the tea growers. It remains to be seen whether any concrete steps are taken in this regard.