Kolkata, Jan 23 (IANS) Following a request from six north Bengal tea gardens for advancing the dates for resumption of plucking operations, an expert committee of the Tea Board rejected their plea after inspection, an official said on Wednesday.
The board had imposed mandatory closure of tea leaf plucking or harvesting operations in West Bengal, Bihar, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand from mid-December. Subsequently, it had announced February 11 for West Bengal and Bihar and February 28 for the other states to resume plucking operations.
Tea gardens Nuxalbari Tea Co, Oodlabari, Aryaman, Mainak Hill, Kumarika and Namring Tea Estate had requested for advancing the dates for resumption of plucking operations citing availability of fresh leaves in their gardens.
The board referred the matter to the committee of experts who were asked to “verify such first flush by field inspections”.
“Experts have recently inspected the representing gardens and found that fine leaf count was below 25. It should ideally be over 60. They have decided that good quality tea cannot not be produced now,” a Tea Board official said.
Only if the expert committee recommends and confirms that quantum of leaves of good quality is found, the board may consider the matter for the representing gardens.
“The board advised the plantations not to debase their product quality by harvesting leaves of sub-standard quality and to wait for the arrival of the first flush of good quality leaves for resuming the plucking and manufacturing operations,” the board said in a notice.