The Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTCA) turned 50 years on Friday (September 25, 2020).
Guwahati Tea Auction Centre, which is the second-highest selling tea auction centre in the world in terms of volume for CTC tea, started the first tea auction on September 25, 1970.
The first chairman of the GTAC was IAS officer Dharmananda Das.
He was in the position from August 11 to February 4, 1979.
To mark the celebration of its 50th anniversary, the GTCA on Friday hosted a webinar with the theme ‘Guwahati Tea Auction Centre and the Tea Industry’.
GTAC chairman Dr KK Dwivedi inaugurated the webinar.
The webinar was participated by Anshuman Kanoria, the chairman of Indian Tea Exporters Association, Abhijeet Hazarika, consultant of TSigma Consultancy and Ravi Suchanti, the chairman and managing director J Thomas & Co Pvt Ltd, and many other traders and officials.
GTAC secretary P Dutta said to mark the occasion of turning 50 years, GTAC started celebrations on September 27 last year.
The GTAC also organized a manual auction for its stakeholders to revisit the memories of the time when the auctions used to be conducted in the outcry system.
The GTAC’s Golden Jubilee Working Committee chairman C Chaliha said although they planned to organise sports activities in March and April this year they could not do so due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to reports, it was at 11 am on September 25, 1970, the then chairman of the Assam Tea Brokers, RG Baruah, hammered down the first lot of tea, 1,317 kg of Broken Orange Pekoe of Haroocharai tea estate.
The tea lot was bought by tea trader Zafar Ali for Rs 42.50 per kg at the auction hall of the GTAC at the erstwhile Stadium Guest House in Guwahati.
In the first year, GTAC sold 9.1 million kg of tea at the average price of Rs. 5.68 per kg.
The Guwahati Tea Auction Centre created history by selling 204 million kg of tea in the year 2019-20 at the average price of Rs. 139.63 per kg.
“From the 1960s, efforts were on way for the establishment of the Tea Auction Centre in Guwahati. A group of Assam’s best tea planters were determined despite all constraints that an auction centre must be set up and worked very fast towards the objective,” a media report quoted Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers Association secretary Dinesh Bihani as saying.
“Today, Guwahati Tea Auction Centre is proud to have its own building and world-class infrastructure,” Bihani said.
The auction is sprawled around 20,000 square feet.
There are two auction halls in the GTCA for tea leaves and tea dust auction.
There is also a huge tea warehouse for storing the tea.
Joydeep Phukan, the principal officer & secretary at Tea Research Association (TRA) tweeted: “Congratulations to Guwahati Tea Auction Centre GTAC, 2nd largest auction centre in the world on their golden jubilee today. I was fortunate to work for GTAC from 2003-2006 & implement the first e-auctions.”