- Abhijit Nath, NET Correspondent, Tripura
Agartala, August 23, 2022 : The union Minister of State (MoS) for Commerce and Industry – Som Prakash on Tuesday chaired a review meeting on the North Eastern Industrial Development Scheme (NE-IDS) and the state’s tea industry at State Guest House here in Agartala city.
Addressing the meeting, MoS Som Prakash said “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act East Policy emphasizes overall development of North Eastern states. To improve the financial condition of this region, a favorable environment for the establishment of small industries should be created.”
In the first phase of the meeting, Tripura’s Industries and Commerce secretary Abhishek Chandra discussed the NE-IDS project in detail. He emphasized on further simplifying and promoting the communication system with Bangladesh and Myanmar to boost tourism and export trade of the state. In addition, industries like rubber, incense stick, agar etc. were discussed in the meeting.
In the second phase of the review meeting, a comprehensive discussion was held on the tea industry of the state. The meeting emphasized on setting up an auction center in the state itself to sell tea. As a result, the small tea growers of states like Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram etc. will also benefit.
At the meeting, Tea Board of India official Arunima Phukan Yadav said that there is a possibility of holding a meeting in this regard in early September. In this case, Secretary Abhishek Chandra said that all kinds of assistance will be provided by the state government to set up this auction center. Moreover, it was discussed in the meeting to consider whether the issue of tea plantation can be re-incorporated through MGNREGA. As a result, the small tea farmers will benefit the most. In addition, issues such as sufficient quantity of fertilizer, medicine, and uninterrupted supply of necessary gas for tea cultivation are also discussed.
It was also informed in the meeting that if it is possible to export tea from the North Eastern region including Tripura to Bangladesh, the tea industry here will benefit a lot. With that in mind, the participants of the meeting requested that the Government of India and Bangladesh jointly discuss this issue.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of various organizations associated with the tea industry including chairman of Tripura Tea Development Corporation Santosh Saha. Both the meetings were attended by Director of Industries and Commerce Department Swapna Debnath, Additional Director Subhash Das and other level officials of the department.
It should be noted that Tripura ranks sixth in the country in tea production. There are about 8 thousand 302 hectares of tea plantations in the state. Out of this, 2,865 small tea farmers have tea gardens on 1,408 hectares of land. 8.81 million kg of tea was produced in the state in 2021. A total of 10,438 tea workers are employed in 52 tea gardens in the state.