MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

Tea Board of India nod for two auctions comes as relief for cash-crunched tea companies

Although the tea planters had expressed satisfaction that the Bharat system was going to be set aside as it had led to lower price realisations since April when the system was introduced, they desperately wanted the two auctions in September and October to be held anyhow for their cash requirements

Avijit Sinha Siliguri Published 28.09.23, 10:22 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

The Tea Board of India revoked a decision pertaining to tea auctions on Monday, within a few hours of it being made, and allowed two auction sales in September and October that it had put on hold to pave the way for the revival of the old English auction system.

The decision to allow the two auctions has come as a relief for tea companies, which need money to pay bonuses to tea workers ahead of Durga Puja.

ADVERTISEMENT

On September 25, the board issued a notice saying that the English system will be revived for auctioning teas, replacing the Bharat auction system introduced in April this year.

The board also announced the date — October 17 — when live auctions under the English system would be re-introduced in auction centres.

“In the notice, the board had announced that auction sale numbers 39 and 40, which were supposed to be held from September 25 to 29 and from October 3 to 6, have to be stopped for the transition (from the Bharat to the English systems). We immediately made our submissions before the board and mentioned that the sales should not be dropped as we the need money ahead of the festivities. Each tea estate has to disburse bonus and thus we all need funds,” said M.P. Bansal, the chairman of the Terai Indian Planters’ Association.

Soon afterward, the tea board issued another notice, which stated that with a “number of representations from various stakeholders associations requesting not to drop sales 39 and 40 for ensuing cash flow during the festive season,” the board had decided to allow the proceedings.

Although the tea planters had on Monday expressed satisfaction that the Bharat system of auctions was going to be set aside as it had led to lower price realisations since April when the system was introduced, they desperately wanted the two auctions in September and October to be held anyhow for their cash requirements.

“It seems these two sales would also be conducted in the same system (Bharat). But never mind, at least we will be able to earn some money to meet the additional expenditure of the yearly bonuses," said a tea planter based in Siliguri on Wednesday.

"Even though our teas have fetched lower prices in auctions, we have had to pay our workers higher wages (of Rs 250 per day) since last month, along with arrears as the revision has been put into effect from June this year,” the planter added. "That is why we need the cash flow before the festive season."

In the Terai and the Dooars, the planters and the trade unions had a couple of rounds of bipartite talks to finalise the bonus rate for 2023. The unions have demanded a bonus at last year’s rate (20 per cent) while the planters have not assented to it during the talks so far.

“No final decision has been reached so far. Another round of talks on this would be held in the first week of October,” said a trade union leader.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT