Centre scan on tea import
The Union commerce and industry ministry has taken up a slew of initiatives to prevent the practice of selling low-quality imported teas as the famed Darjeeling brew.
Anupriya Patel, a junior minister of the ministry, said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that along with the tea board, some other agencies have been engaged to ensure that imported teas sold in India country carry details of their origin, and keep a tab on such imports.
Over the past few years, planters of Darjeeling tea industry have been expressing concerns over rampant influx of teas from Nepal. Such teas are sold in the Indian market and even exported in the name of Darjeeling tea, they said, adding this affected the reputation of the hill brew.
Such concerns made Darjeeling MP Raju Bista raise the issue in Parliament.
In reply, Patel said on Wednesday that Darjeeling tea was protected by certification trademark and geographical indication, and had a distinct logo.
She said that the tea board has asked importers and buyers to ensure that the origin of imported teas is stated in their sale invoices.
“A similar directive has been passed to distributors and blenders. It does not matter if they bought the imported tea directly or through intermediaries. The idea is to ensure that no such tea is passed off as tea of Indian origin,” said a source in the board.
In another instruction, the board said any importer bringing tea into India from another country should inform the place of storage to the board within 24 hours of entry of the tea into India.
Patel said the government was aware that Nepal is the largest importer of teas to India.
To strengthen the process of food import clearance of tea from Nepal, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has conducted trainings and Customs officials have been notified as authorised officers at land Customs stations, she said.