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NE tea gardens face huge losses

NE tea gardens face huge lossesFew vehicles are seen on a deserted road during a 21-day nationwide lockdown
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Guwahati/Agartala: Over 850 big tea gardens and thousands of small gardens in the northeastern region of India specially in Assam are closed leading to...

Guwahati/Agartala: Over 850 big tea gardens and thousands of small gardens in the northeastern region of India specially in Assam are closed leading to huge economic loss and jeopardizing the livelihood of lakhs of workers.

Tea planters, however, promised to take care of the welfare of over seven lakh workers and employees.

The Tea Board, under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in an advisory said that the tea gardens and small growers who may face disruptions in activities and who could not pluck quality green leaf on time are advised to skip and discard those overgrown leaves and pluck and manufacture only the subsequent growth. "These advisories have been issued in order to uphold the quality of Indian tea in the face of outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic," the Tea Board said on Tuesday.

North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) adviser Bidyananda Barkakoty said that the tea estates in Assam have already shut down and they are in touch with the Assam government about the livelihood and welfare of the workers.

"The closure of the works in the tea gardens was decided after the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (an umbrella body of tea producers associations), held a video conference meeting earlier this week," Barkakoty told IANS. He said that the lockdown is inevitable as per the government''s directives and to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. "The tea estate owners and management are trying their best to provide wages and rations to the workers. We could make up our loss if we are alive. Job security of our workers and employees are also very supreme in this hour of crisis," the NETA adviser said.

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