By Bikash Singh
Assam agriculture minister, Atul Bora on Saturday said it is high time the headquarters of Tea board of India was shifted from Kolkata to Guwahati.
Bora while in participating the biennial general meeting of the North Eastern Tea association (NETA) said, “Tea Board must shift its headquarters from Kolkata to Guwahati. Assam presently produces 53 per cent of the country’s tea.”
Shifting of offices, public sector units and headquarters of boards like Tea Board of India to Northeast India has been a long pending demand of several organisations in the region.
Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI (M)] had opposed the shifting of the headquarters of the Tea Board of India from Kolkata to Guwahati.
Bora said shifting of the headquarters of the Tea Board from Kolkata to Assam is a long pending demand of the people of Assam. and that there should be no further delay.
There are five statutory Commodity Boards under the Department of Commerce, Government of India – Tea, Coffee, Rubber, Spices and Tobacco. Except Tea Board, all other Boards are headquartered in the State where the product is mainly grown.
He detailed Karnataka is the birthplace of coffee in India and Coffee Board is headquartered in Bengaluru, Rubber cultivation in India has been traditionally confined to Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Rubber Board is headquartered in Kottayam, Kerala, and Spices Board is headquartered in Cochin, Kerala, Tobacco Board is headquartered in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.
Bora said, “Planters must decide if tea should continue to be under commerce ministry for several aspects of the tea is fit to be included in Agriculture ministry. Planters must discuss this and let me know.”
He added, “I know, with change in climate, tea plantations in Assam cannot survive without irrigation. I am exploring the option of extending the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) to the Small Tea Growers (STGs). This scheme is aimed to extend the coverage of irrigation and improving water use efficiency ‘More crop per drop’.”
Bora who is also the president of Asom Gana Parishad added, “My party and I fully support that Tea should be declared as the National Drink of India. I am told that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce has already recommended that Tea should be declared as the National Drink of India. We will write to Prime Minister to declare Tea in this regard.”
Source: Economic Times