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Rs 230 cr for tea sector

Siliguri, April 3: In a bid to augment the production and the quality of tea across the country, the Union government has sanctioned Rs 230 crore to be spent during the current Five Year Plan (2007-2012).

In a letter dated March 27 and addressed to the stakeholders, C.S. Mitra, the assistant director (tea development) of the Tea Board of India, has specifically mentioned that the funds have been set aside for Quality Upgradation & Product Diversification Scheme.

“The outlay earmarked for the scheme for the five years duration is Rs 230 crores, of which Rs 130 crores would be towards quality upgradation and Rs 100 crores towards orthodox production subsidy,” reads the letter.

The Centre has also approved a hike in the subsidy to be provided under some schemes. These include

• 40 per cent of actual cost incurred for the purchase of machines for manufacturing orthodox tea in CTC factories (it was 25 per cent earlier)

• 40 per cent of the actual cost for setting up new orthodox factories (it was 25 per cent earlier)

• 50 per cent of the fees paid to procure quality certificates like HACCP/ISO22000/organic tea, with a ceiling of Rs 1 lakh (it was Rs 75,000 earlier)

Another subsidy newly included is the payment of 40 per cent of actual costs spent by self-help groups (SHGs) of the small tea growers to set up new factories.

“This is definitely a significant step taken by the tea board to promote our sector,” said Bijoygopal Chakraborty, the vice-president of Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Associations.

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