IIT-Kharagpur will team up with Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) to conduct a study into the effects of climate change on tea production and wetlands in the state, said a statement issued by the institute on Monday.
The Department of Architecture and Regional Planning (DARP) in IIT-Kgp and the Department of Geography and Regional Planning in IUP are collaborating as part of the ‘Summer Study Abroad Programme’ in India.
“Through this study, we are taking a look at what the special factors responsible for giving Darjeeling tea its unique muscatel flavour and exquisite banquet are. From environmental perspectives, we will analyse how climate change has been affecting the tea industry. We will also try to look at how tea gardens are evolving or changing their production process in response to this,” said Dr Haimanti Banerjee, principal coordinator of the programme for IIT-Kgp.
Banerjee will be heading the project along with Prof Subrata Chattopadhyay, head of DARP. Seven students and two faculty members of IUP have arrived in Kolkata, and a joint one-day workshop was held at American Centre in Kolkata on Monday.
“Tea is something that the whole world can relate to, even Starbucks has introduced chai latte to their menu. And when we talk about tea, it is the world-famous Darjeeling tea that comes to the mind. This research will focus on the socio-economic and geographic issues of tea plantations, and how they are impacted by climate change. Darjeeling has been selected as the test-bed for this year,” said Dr Sudeshna Ghosh, IUP’s principal coordinator along with Dr Brian Okey.
Students from both institutes will visit Makaibari Tea Estate and Darjeeling Tea Research & Development Centre at Kurseong this month as part of their field study. “We will also have to collect weather-related data of the region over the past 50 years to understand the extent of climate change, the impact and whether it influences Darjeeling tea’s unique aroma,” Ghosh added.