Dibrugarh: The biggest challenge being faced by the Assam Tea Industry is the stagnancy in tea prices, high cost of production and low productivity, said Bharatiya Chah Parishad (BCP) chairman Nalin Khemani on Thursday.

Speaking at the BCP AGM in Dibrugarh, Khemani said, “If there is any solution to this problem that is to improve the competitiveness of the industry in terms of productivity. In the liberalized regime of world trade, paramount importance has to be given to the marketing of tea. The crisis in the tea industry has a huge negative impact on the family life of the plantation workers and all others associated with the Industry.”

“An issue that concerns me is the critical coverage the Assam tea industry has received in numerous articles. These articles presented the industry’s execution of its social commitments in a very poor light. While presenting a viewpoint, such articles must adopt a more panoramic view of reality,” he said

“With over 60% of the total budget of a Tea Company allocated to wages, this should be a primary concern of the Industry going forward. We need to equip our workforce with the correct processes, training, technology and tools for this output to rise,” said the Chairman of BCP.

He said, “The government of India has initiated the Skill India movement to improve productivity. Productivity in plantations has to be increased by replantation of new varieties, and scientific and mechanized harvesting.

“Assam produces 60% of its yearly production in four months from July to September. During these four months Industry faces a huge worker shortage resulting in poor quality of the harvest. The time has come we should implement mechanized harvesting to improve the productivity of the Assam Tea Industry.”

“The Tea Industry has been the backbone of the rural economy in Assam for decades and the livelihood of over a million workers and several lakh of small tea growers of the state depends on the Tea industry,” he said.

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