COVID-19 lock down: Assam tea estates are being allowed to resume operation
Published on April 9, 2020 | News Source: Bijay Sankar Bora
Guwahati, 9 April: Assam government has started the process to allow state tea estates to resume various operations including the plucking of tea leaves while following social distancing and other relevant protocols as prescribed by the Union Health Ministry in view of COVID-19 pandemic and associated country-wide lock down.
The process has started with tea estates of Darrang district. The government has already issued a notification through the Deputy Commissioner of Darrang District allowing the tea estates there to operate while adhering strictly to all protocols such as social distancing etc., as laid down in COVID-19 guideline/advisory. The order, however, may be withdrawn at any time without assigning any reason, if situation demands so.
The order has allowed tea estates of Darrang districts to carry out various operations including plucking by engaging maximum 50 per cent of the total workforce.
The tea estates throughout the Assam have been badly hit by the ongoing lock down because of the novel corona virus pandemic and all the gardens have lost out on plucking the year’s first flush of the tea leaves which occurs during late February and March.
“As the tea estates have failed to exploit the first flush, now they have to go for pruning first and after that it will take at least three weeks for new leaves to become suitable for plucking,’ said Dipanjol Deka, Assam state secretary of Tea Association of India (TAI), an important tea planters’ body.
The tea official further said that given the ground situation it was unlikely that the estates would be able to tap the most crucial second flush of tea too during April.
As the government has allowed operations in tea estates of Darrang district, the tea official said the same order was likely to be issued to tea estates of all other districts within few days.