Piyush Goyal writes to MP Raju Bista on Nepal tea imports
The Union ministry of commerce and industry and the Tea Board of India have taken a number of initiatives to stop the unbridled import of tea from Nepal and its sale as Darjeeling Tea in India.
Piyush Goyal, the Union minister of railways, commerce and industry, wrote to Darjeeling BJP MP Raju Bista recently, saying the Centre was taking necessary steps to ensure that tea from Nepal was imported only if the product complied with all regulations of the FSSAI (Food Safety & Standards Authority of India).
Bista had written to the minister in June, expressing concern over the dumping of tea from Nepal in India and pointing out that the product was being sold as Darjeeling Tea.
“I had mentioned that it was also causing widespread losses for our tea industry and harming the Darjeeling brand. It is good that the Tea Board is taking initiatives to check the dumping of tea and has made it mandatory that tea imported from other countries will have to get a clearance from FSSAI. This would address certain areas of concern like health safety of tea drinkers and adulteration of Darjeeling Tea and would promote a healthy competition among tea producers in the neighbouring country,” said Bista.
In the past few years, members of the Indian tea industry, particularly those associated with the Darjeeling tea industry, time and again flagged the issue and sought the intervention of the Centre and the Tea Board.
Along with his letter, Goyal also appended a note mentioning the initiatives taken by the Tea Board — the apex government agency that looks after the tea sector in the country.
It has been mentioned in the note that Nepal tea can be sold in India only in packaged form.
Added to this is the compulsory clearance from the FSSAI and appropriate authorities of Nepal for each batch of tea imported from Nepal.
The FSSAI has also been advised to allow the import of tea only through a single land customs station on the India-Nepal border.
“In the note, it has also been mentioned that to protect the Darjeeling name and the logo under the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999, it has been made mandatory to specify the country of origin by the wholesalers, packers and retailers while selling imported tea,” said a source.