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Women run show at Assam tea estate

From right to left: Priyanka, Kironi, Simi and Deepa

Guwahati: A tea garden in Upper Assam, which had opened its management doors to women, says the move has changed the overall dynamics of working in a garden.

"The impact of having women in management has been huge. The women are dedicated, honest and work with great enthusiasm which has really changed the overall dynamics of working in Chota Tingrai," Avantika Jalan, a director of Chota Tingrai garden, told The Telegraph.

Simi Baruah looks after green tea factory, Deepa Chetri manages field management with Kironi Kurmi and Priyanka Bhattacharya runs the administrative office.

"They are now the field managers of the garden," Avantika said during a talk on new approaches to growing tea in Assam at the recently concluded World Tea Expo in the US.

"I noticed most of the workers were women and almost all productive work was done by them yet there was not a single woman on the higher levels of management. I soon realised if we were to work in tea, we would have to create a new one. We made a conscious decision to work with young talents and open up the management system to deserving local candidates," she said.

"Deepa was my first hire when I started working with organics and she has grown a lot. She now manages the whole field management with Kironi. Simi is the first girl to have graduated from Dibrugarh University's tea course - and we hired her as a trainee for the green tea factory. Now she works with our Japanese consultant and runs the factory," she said.

"Seeing her getting hired in the tea sector, Dibrugarh University opened two more spots for girls in the course. Kironi was in the next batch. We took her as a trainee last year and she has been an incredible addition to our field team. Priyanka is one of our retired staff's daughter. She has BA in accounts. She runs the administrative office and has been instrumental in helping workers create bank accounts," Avantika said.

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