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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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2.5 lakh kg tea lies idle

Siliguri, Oct. 7: Electronic bidding at Siliguri Tea Auction Centre was stalled today following the decision of the Sales Advisory Committee (SAC), a sub-committee of Siliguri Tea Auction Committee (STAC), not to allow brokers to participate in it.

Brokers have been barred because of non-payment of dues amounting to Rs 3 lakh.

'We will convene another meeting of the general body to discuss the situation that has arisen due to non-payment by brokers once the auction centre reopens after Puja holidays on October 13,' Ravi Agarwal, STAC chairman said.

In all, 321 lots of tea, weighing about 2.5 lakh kg, remained unsold in the warehouses because of the stall in the e-auction.

'Ever since the electronic bidding system was launched four months ago, we had been steadily approaching the Tea Board's goal of totally phasing out manual bidding. A break like this tends to decelerate the process and is unfortunate,' he added.

Since participation of brokers is a must for conducting an auction, barring them entailed total disruption of e-auction process.

The buyers today met at Siliguri auction centre criticising yesterday's remarks made by some planters and sellers. Some garden owners had told The Telegraph that the decision of the SAC was 'motivated' and influenced by the buyers' community, whom they accused of highhandedness.

Agarwal, in a press release, clarified that the decision to bar the brokers was unanimously taken by all the nine members of the SAC, represented by three members each of buyers, brokers and sellers. 'The SAC is represented equally by all sections and to bring the blame on buyers is illogical,' he maintained.

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