Updated: December 4, 2018 6:52:02 pm
In a bid to revive tea industry in the state, the Tripura Tea Development Corporation (TTDC) is contemplating to start tea cultivation across the international border on a patch of land between the international boundaries of India and Bangladesh.
Speaking to reporters, TTDC chairman Santosh Saha on Tuesday said that tea industry in the state was sickened due to decades of carelessness and oblivion. He said a host of initiatives were taken to revive the tea sector recently, which include designing a logo and a brand name which would identify Tripura tea.
“We have designed a logo for tea produced in the state. It is waiting for approval from the Tea Board India. We have also adopted a brand name – Tripureshwari Tea, by which all tea produced in 3 tea gardens owned by our corporation will be sold,” Saha said.
As part of these steps, the Corporation is planning to grow tea across the Indo-Bangla border on a patch of land which is between the boundaries of both countries.
Due to provisions of the 1971 Indira-Mujib Pact and Indo-Bangla Border Agreement signed in 1975 between Border Security Force (BSF) and the then Bangladesh Rifles (now Border Guards of Bangladesh), there is no ‘No Man’s Land’ in the Indo-Bangla international border. India erected barbed wire fence 100 yards away from Bangladesh.
“We are planning to cultivate tea in no man’s land on the Indo-Bangladesh international border in Tripura. We shall start a dialogue with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA),” Saha said.
Tea industry started in Tripura over 100 years back, in 1916, at Hiracherra tea estate in present Unakoti district. However, after a century, tea from the state had to depend on auction centers in Assam and West Bengal. Without any brand for tea from Tripura, bulks of it often were reported to be smuggled into Bangladesh and sold under other brands.
TTDC has started working on setting up an auction centre at Agartala to start competitive bidding, which Santosh Saha said, would take the state’s tea produce at par with those sold at Guwahati or Kolkata-based auction centers.
Tripura now has 58 operational tea estates, among which 42 are individually owned, 13 are operated under cooperative societies and 3 are run by the TTDC. Nearly 3,000 small tea growers also run their small tea estates with government support. As per government estimates, 6,885-hectare land area is under tea cultivation in the state, in which 3.58 crore kg green tea leaf is produced annually.
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