Hill association urges state to prohibit import of Nepal tea
Darjeeling: The Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA), in a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has urged her to ban the import of Nepal tea.
The letter stated that Darjeeling tea, the first product to have got GI tag in the country, is facing a grave financial crisis owing to production coming down from 9.5 million kg to 6 million kg following the prolonged crisis in 2017 while wages and salary of employees have gone up by 50 per cent.
Pandemic has further added to the woes. The situation is further aggravated by the sale of deceptive Nepal tea in the domestic markets as Darjeeling tea, resulting in drop in price and fall in demand.
The DTA has alleged that tea imported from Nepal is not subjected to FSSAI testing and thus can be harmful for human consumption.
Nepal Tea producers and its importers are taking the innocent consumers of Darjeeling tea for a ride both nationally and internationally, thereby tarnishing the image of Darjeeling Tea, claimed the letter. Last year, 8.96 million kg of tea was imported from Nepal.
"The Darjeeling Tea Industry and all those dependent upon it both directly and indirectly, sincerely requests you to kindly save the industry from this gross injustice, so that the source of such major job generation does not get affected leading to closure of tea gardens," urged the letter.
There are about 67000 workers and another 4 lakh are indirectly dependant on this industry. "The Darjeeling tea industry is not getting the required attention. Unless import of Nepal tea is banned, the livelihood of those dependent would be at risk and may reach a point of no return where most tea gardens in Darjeeling would shut down," stated Sandeep Mukherjee, principal advisor, DTA.