North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) recently raised their concern on the increase of bandh culture in Assam, stating that it is a threat to the agriculture based tea industry. The 195-year-old Assam tea industry, is struggling for survival due to numerous issues already and the ‘bandh culture’ is adding on to it.
In a statement issued by NETA Chairman, Nepul Saikia, the Association has stated that Assam has a long history of bandhs and agitations, but the functioning of tea gardens had never been hampered earlier. However, of late, different organizations call for bandhs every now and then, which paralyzes the normal functioning of the tea gardens.
As the green tea leaf is an unpreserved commodity, plucking of tea leaves is a daily activity and it has to be processed in due course. Otherwise, it can lead to fall in quality of the final product and thereby tea gardens face the risk of becoming economically non-viable. ‘The loss of one day’s harvest cannot be made up the next day. Hence, a loss in work caused by these bandhs is an irrevocable loss to the already ailing tea industry,’ said NETA adviser, Bidyananda Barkakoty.
The Association made an appeal to the government to take necessary measures so that the tea gardens can function normally and is not affected by any kind of bandh in the future.