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Assam State Legislative Assembly Speaker and Jorhat MLA Hitendra Nath Goswami distributed cheques worth Rs 45 lakh to small tea growers’ Self Help Groups at a function held at the Jorhat district library here on Wednesday.
Goswami told the gathering that he would look into the problems that the small tea growers were facing and try to find a solution at the earliest.
The meeting was held under the aegis of the Commerce and Industry Department here with the cooperation of the district administration.
The money was part of the cess on green tea leaves collected from small tea growers.
Mariani MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi, who also attended the meeting, proposed that there should be a thorough discussion of the grievances of small tea growers in the Legislative Assembly.
The biggest problem that the small tea growers faced was not getting land documents, especially in cases where government land had been occupied for plantation purpose.
The small tea growers of Assam contributed to 35 per cent of tea produced in Assam and had become a major economic force in recent times.
However, without land documents they could not avail bank loans or other government benefits. Another problem was getting a proper price for the green leaf that they produced. During season time it was often seen that green leaf prices fell way below the stipulated price as fixed by auction sale of made tea.
Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Narayan Konwar said that land documents would be made available as per provision of government rules.
Paran Baruah, scientist and social worker also gave some valuable tips on how the small tea growers could increase profits and stressed on making organic tea as one of the means to increase their income.
Prafulla Chandra Bora, the first small tea grower of Jorhat district, was felicitated on the occasion.
Three Self Help Groups were allotted Rs 3.50 lakh each to buy vehicles to carry green leaves while each centre was given Rs 10000 each for buying necessary equipment and Rs 5000 was given to each Centre for Infrastructure development totalling more than Rs 45 lakh.
Out of the 21 Self Help Groups found eligible, 17 were given aid in the first phase.