Guwahati, Sept. 18: Tea Board of India has warned gardens that subsidy claims for orthodox tea would not be entertained if they do not conform to European Union (EU) specified maximum residue limits (MRL).
Official sources said the board, in its note earlier this month on getting claims under orthodox subsidy scheme, has advised that applicants are to submit a self-declaration that their teas conform to the EU-specified MRL.
“The declaration is mandatory, and in its absence claims for the subsidy will not be entertained,” the note said.
Indian tea industry often finds it difficult to adhere to the EU norms which are very strict.
The tea board has recommended the continuation of orthodox subsidy scheme during the Twelfth Plan period though the Centre’s approval is awaited.
“Orthodox tea is for export purposes and hence all producers are doing their best to conform to EU-specified norms. This must be a reminder to all those who are not doing it,” secretary of Assam Branch Indian Tea Association Dhiraj Kakati said.
The board is simultaneously receiving applications for 2012-13 and disbursing subsidy for the Eleventh Plan period.
In order to avoid delays in settling the claims, it has been decided to disburse subsidy through zonal offices at Guwahati for Assam, Tripura and other northeastern states.
The board said in view of the fact that almost all the orthodox tea a produced in the country is exported, there is a need to continue the assistance for orthodox tea production during the Twelfth Plan at a higher rate.
The board has agreed to the recommendation of consultancy firm KPMG to increase subsidy from Rs 3 to Rs 5, However, the firm also said to be eligible for the subsidy, a garden should achieve at least five per cent increase in orthodox production over its average during the preceding five years.
The department-related parliamentary standing committee on commerce, in its report on tea sector submitted to the Parliament last month, said higher pesticide residue in tea was becoming common because of overdose of pesticides, weedicides and chemical fertilisers.
The committee, during its interaction with the industry, found that huge backlog of subsidy payable under the Quality Upgradation and Product Diversification Scheme exists. Also, subsidy for orthodox tea production in many cases has been pending from 2009, while the subsidy on incremental production is pending from 2008.
Taking serious note of undue pendency in release of subsidy, the standing committee has recommended that such backlog could be cleared on priority.