The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS), the largest trade union of tea workers in the country, has demanded a tea department in Assam.
The organisation said it will help revive the state’s tea industry which is passing through a sluggish phase.
ACMS president and former union DoNER minister Paban Singh Ghatowar said setting up a tea ministry in Assam is a legitimate demand of the people of Assam as the tea industry has over 195 years of glorious history and provides livelihood to several million people.
He said this while participating in the 63rd foundation day of the ACMS at its headquarters in Dibrugarh on Monday.
“Assam’s name is synonymous with tea all over the world. Tea is one of the major contributors to the state’s economy and millions of people are involved in the tea industry in the state. When the state can have a ministry for fisheries, why can’t we have a ministry of tea,” TOI quoted Ghatowar as saying.
He said that setting up a department of tea at the state level will provide the necessary thrust for its revival.
The government and policymakers should come forward to give shape to the idea, said the ACMS president.
“In fact, a tea ministry should have been formed a long time ago considering the importance of the tea industry in the state. It is the largest employment generator industry providing livelihood to lakhs of people,” Ghatowar said.
With over 800 big tea plantations and thousands of small tea gardens, Assam contributes to nearly 51% of tea produced in the country.
However, stagnant prices, lukewarm global demand, deficit rainfall and the Covid-19 pandemic have left the state’s tea industry in distress.