Himachal: No steps taken to revive Kangra tea gardens

Himachal: No steps taken to revive Kangra tea gardens

2022-03-26 01:33:32

Ravinder Sood

Palampur, March 25

Plucking of leaves is likely to begin in most tea gardens of Kangra valley by the end of March and the growers are expecting a bumper crop this year as the valley received adequate rains during the winter.

However, despite tall claims made by the Union and state governments, no steps have been taken for the revival of over 3,000 tea gardens in Kangra and Mandi.

Earlier, cooperative tea factories at Bir and Baijnath used to buy the produce of the growers, but now these have either been closed or taken over by private parties. Tea gardens spread over 1,000 acres have been virtually abandoned in the valley.

Transfer to agriculture dept a blunder

Earlier, marketing was being looked after by the State Industries Department and the growers were satisfied with the technical support given to them from time to time. However, in 2008, the Prem Kumar Dhumal government in a major policy decision attached tea cultivation with the Agricultural Department against the wishes of tea growers. Tea growers say it was a blunder. —TEA GROWERS

In the last season, tea leaves could not be plucked from these gardens and a similar situation is expected this year as well. The tea growers of the valley blame successive governments, anti-tea growers’ policies and discontinuation of various incentives for their plight.

Earlier, marketing was being looked after by the State Industries Department and the growers were satisfied with the technical support given to them from time to time. However, in 2008, the Prem Kumar Dhumal government in a major policy decision attached tea cultivation with the Agricultural Department against the wishes of tea growers. Tea growers say it was a blunder on the part of the government. The Agriculture Department failed to deliver the goods and neglected the development and marketing of tea in the region. They said there was no qualified staff in the department to handle the affairs.

Archit Butail, a leading tea grower, says that the Kangra tea industry needs a special package for its revival. “When Anand Sharma was the Union Commerce Minister, he had announced a multi-crore package for the Kangra tea industry, but with the BJP government did not release funds, hitting the tea industry badly,” he adds.

In the absence of demand for green tea leaves, small tea growers are left with no alternative except to stop cultivation as it is no more remunerative. Many tea lands have turned into concrete jungles.


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Source by [himachalpradeshtourism.org]

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