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Assam’s tea body to shut down bought leaf factories from June 1, govt calls urgent meeting

First Published: 27th May, 2024 13:39 IST

The meeting will be held in Guwahati on May 29. It will be chaired by Chief Secretary Ravi Kota and Principal Secretary (Industries) Dr. Lakshmanan

Assam Government has called an urgent meeting tomorrow, days after the Assam Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturers Association (ABLTMA) announced that they would shutdown bought leaf tea factories in the state from June 1 because of excessive use of pesticides by small tea growers.

The meeting to be presided over by Chief Secretary Ravi Kota and Principal Secretary (Industries) Dr. Lakshmanan, would be attended by bought leaf factory owners, small tea growers and Tea Board of India officials. The meeting will be held in Guwahati.

The ABLTMA had earlier said that they will stop buying non-compliant green tea leaves from small tea growers if the state government and the Tea Board of India does not come up with a set of SOPs by May 31.

With over 200 such factories in the state, the decision is expected to have a significant impact on the industry. Non-compliant green tea leaves are referred to those leaves that do not comply with the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) guidelines and break all norms by using banned pesticides.

Speaking to North East Live, Chand Gohain, the President of the Association said that the Association is hopeful of a solution during the discussion. The Association had stated that more than 90 percent of the samples sent for tests have shown overuse of pesticides in the leaves. The Association also demanded that testing facilities should be made available in Assam since sending samples to Kolkata for tests results in heavy expenses as well as time consuming.

The association also expressed concern over the fact quality tests are only carried out for the CTC (crush, tear, curl) variety of tea, whereas there is no such provision for the orthodox variety. Gohain, however, stated that the association will go ahead with the decision to close down all factories from June 1, if the talks fail.

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