Tea Board of India reverts to English Auction System
Alipurduar: The Tea Board of India is going to reintroduce the old ‘English’ auction system instead of the ‘Bharat’ auction system, complying with the demands of plantation owners and workers. The Tea Board of India announced this change in a notification on Monday.
As a result, Auction number 39 will remain closed from September 25 to 29, and Auction number 40 will be closed from October 3 to 6 in all Tea Board offices across the country.
According to the Tea Owners’ Association, the ‘Bharat’ auction system was initially implemented in April under the directive of the Tea Board. This new Bharat Auction online system requires a significantly larger quantity of tea to be auctioned simultaneously.
Under this system, each lot consists of 30 packets of tea leaves, each weighing 38 kg, totaling 1140 kg. Small buyers are unable to purchase such large quantities at one go, leading to reduced competition in the auctions. Large agencies can acquire significant lots at their desired prices, with no opportunity to increase bids during the auction. Ultimately, it’s the tea owners who suffer. This year has seen a decrease of Rs 33 per kg in auction prices for tea, naturally resulting in a decline in tea prices over the last five months.
In response to these concerns, tea owners had approached the Union minister of Industry and Commerce, Piyush Goyal on September 22, to request the cancellation of the “Bharat Auction” system. The delegation represented the Terai Indian Planters Association, Botleaf Producers Association, Darjeeling Tea Association, Tea Association of India and Darjeeling MP Raju Bista.
Chinmay Dhar, Chairman of the North Bengal Tea Association of India (TAI), stated: “Compared to last year, we are incurring a loss of Rs 33 per kg under the new auction system. During the meeting, Union minister Piyush Goyal assured us, and now the change has been implemented.
All owner associations express gratitude to MIC Piyush Goyal and the Tea Board. This will help us recover from the losses in our tea gardens.”
Nakul Sonar, the Chairman of the Trinamool Cha Bagan Shramik Union (TCBSU), stated: “We welcome the decision of the Union minister of Industry and Commerce because if tea garden owners do not receive fair prices for their tea, it will weaken the tea gardens and owners will struggle to pay tea workers.”