No discord between Tea Board and industry: Official

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KOLKATA, Nov 7 (AGENCIES): Tea Board India on Thursday said that there is “no discord” between the statutory body and the industry and the government will continue to provide assistance in various forms. The government’s priority has been changing and the industry needs to gear itself up for it, Tea Board deputy chairman Arun Ray said.

“There is no discord between the industry and Tea Board. The government will continue to provide assistance to the industry”, Ray said at the annual general meeting of Tea Association of India.

The nomenclature of subsidy has now been changed to “assistance”, he said.

“The government’s priority is changing now. The term subsidy has now changed to assistance”, Ray said, adding that the industry will not get any such help for replantation of the crop.

Ray’s comments came after Tea Board chairman P K Bezbaruah, also a planter, suggested that the government should stop all forms of assistance to the industry.

Speaking at the AGM, Bezbaruah said, “What happens, if the board disassociates itself from the functioning of the industry. The industry should not get any subsidy or assistance from the government and be left to fend for itself.” The cost of operations for small tea growers is less than that of organised players, he said adding that the existence of two different cost structures is affecting the industry. Bezbaruah also suggested that there should be a minimum price for green leaf, which would help to eliminate manufacturing of poor quality tea.

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