| The logo of Darjeeling tea
Siliguri, May 26: The Tea Board of India has decided to go in for a logo for brew produced in the gardens of the Terai and Dooars.
'The idea to have a separate logo for tea coming from these north Bengal regions (other than Darjeeling) came up during a discussion at a Tea Board meeting in Calcutta recently,' Basudeb Acharya, the chairman of the board, told The Telegraph. 'We have agreed in principle to go for it, but the discussions are at a very preliminary stage. Very soon, we will ask the producers of north Bengal for their opinion before the logo is designed and copyrighted.' The Dooars and Terai regions produce more than 200 million kg of tea every year. This amounts to more than 25 per cent of India's total tea production.
Tea growing zones like Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri have their own distinctive logos. When displayed on any package, a logo is a guarantee that the tea for sale has come from that region, and that it has not been blended with brew from any other source. All producers, manufacturers, packagers, blenders, exporters and traders need to apply for a licence to use the logo. When they do so, they must provide the Tea Board with a sample of their product and proof that it was grown where they claim it had been. Licence is granted if the board is assured that the product is good enough and is indeed genuine'for example'Assam, Darjeeling or Nilgiri tea.
Representatives of the Tea Board also conduct surprise checks to ensure that the sample, against which the licence was granted, matches the tea that finally goes on sale.
'When there are different logos for tea grown in Assam, Nilgiri and Darjeeling, it is only proper that a separate one be assigned for the Terai and the Dooars, which produce such large quantities of tea,' said Rajiv Lochan, the secretary of Siliguri Tea Traders' Association. 'There is a need to create a separate identity for this product. Recently, during a discussion on tea with local minister Asok Bhattacharya, we had informally raised this issue and were later told that he took the matter up with the tea board. We are happy that the tea board is working on this.
P.K. Bhattacharya, secretary of the Dooars Branch of Indian Tea Association, said the logo would help market the Terai-Dooars tea in the niche market. 'It will give a distinct identity to the tea that will help us market it both nationally and internationally.'
The tea from the plains of north Bengal is mainly of the CTC variety and is domestically consumed. 'There is a good market for this tea in Pakistan and the Middle East as well,' Lochan said.
'A logo will help us build a goodwill,' U.B. Das, secretary of the Terai Branch of Indian Tea Association. 'Given that certain quality standards need to be maintained in order to use the logo, it also means that the quality of tea from this region will improve.'