Assam produces nearly 700 million kg of tea annually and accounts for around half of India’s overall tea production. The state also generates foreign exchange earnings estimated at an equivalent to Rs 3,000 crore. Assam, recently raised daily wages for tea garden workers by Rs 27.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma met with several tea industry stakeholders on Thursday to discuss the problems and road ahead for Assam Tea Corporation’s tea estates (ATC). The gathering was conducted at Janata Bhawan, the state capital building.
During the discussion, strategies for revitalising Assam Tea Corporation’s tea gardens were explored. “The meeting also highlighted that, in light of the difficulty in administering the tea gardens, ATC may lease out part of the tea gardens while keeping ownership,” the Chief Minister’s Office stated in a statement.
State Tea Gardens
According to the announcement, the Chief Minister stated that if the firms that manage the tea gardens fail to pay the tea workers’ dues and other rights, the Corporation would have the power to take over control of the tea gardens. The government would form three-member committees for the Barak and Brahmaputra valleys to lease out tea estates and protect the wage structure and other benefits of tea workers.
It is worth noting that the tea sector has been dealing with difficulties such as growing production costs, relatively stagnant demand, low pricing, and crop losses due to climate change. It must also contend with the problem of a competitive global market.
Assam produces over 700 million kg of tea each year, accounting for roughly half of India’s total tea output. The state also earns foreign exchange revenues at around Rs 3,000 crore.
The tea industry is expensive, with a significant upfront investment. Assam recently increased tea garden employees’ daily salaries by Rs 27, in addition to other perks to which they are entitled.
Following the modification, tea workers in Assam’s Barak valley would be paid Rs 210 per day, while those in the Brahmaputra valley will be paid Rs 232. The BJP administration in Assam raised the pay rate by Rs 38 just before the state elections in 2021.
In Assam, how many tea estates are there? Assam has over 100 tea plantations dedicated to the cultivation of tea. The tea estates cover an area of 2,16,2000 hectares.
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