Amid continued violence in Darjeeling due to the ongoing shutdown called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha(GJM), the tea industry in the region is staring at a loss a huge loss of Rs 250 crore. The indefinite strike in the hills demanding a separate state has entered its 26th day on Monday.
According to a PTI report, Darjeeling Tea Association(DTA) chairman Binod Mohan said, “The second flush tea is premium tea which is mostly exported. There is no production of the tea since the shutdown shutdown started. The expected loss will be Rs 250 crore.”
Mohan said that the second flush tea is the variety that is most sought after in the international markets and overseas buyers are very upset with the ongoing situation in the hills. He further said that the second flush season will last for another week.
As per a PTI report, “Flush means picking up of small high quality leaves at the beginning of the season and the tea produced out of it are one of the best in the world. Darjeeling tea gardens have five flushes in a year. The first flush, also known as spring flush happens in March, the second flush known as summer flush takes place from June 1 – June 30 or first week of July. The rest three are the monsoon flush, autumn flush and winter flush, explained Azam Monem, chairman of Indian Tea Association (ITA).”
“We fear that the overseas buyers may shift to other countries to fill in the vacuum. If this continues, they might even lose interest in the Darjeeling second flush variety,” he added.
Mohan also said that the industry hopes that the all-party meeting called on July 11 at Darjeeling will give relaxation to the tea gardens. He further stated that the workers were also in distress due to the limited ration supplies and are somehow managing to make ends meet. A total of 87 gardens are located in Darjeeling owned by 30 different companies producing 8.5 million kg of tea.
Earlier in June, S S Bagaria, former chairman of Darjeeling Tea Association and owner of four tea gardens, said the shutdown is a “death knell” for the tea industry of Darjeeling.