Guwahati: The North East Tea Association (NETA), a leading tea growers association in Assam, has appealed to the state government to include a chapter in the school textbooks on tea and its health benefits.
NETA chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty said this while addressing the 16th biennial annual general meeting of the association at Jorhat and added that the proposed chapter in school text books should also include the role of tea in our economy and society.
"In Assam, tea is not just a product or commodity; tea is a culture steeped in history, and a history replete with highlights of development and contribution to economic growth and social progress," said Barkakoty.
"On May 8, 1838, 350 pounds of Assam tea was dispatched to London and sold at India House, London, on January 10, 1839. Since then, over the last 170 years, it is the only industry where Assam has retained its leadership," he said.
He said that Assam, to the outside world, is synonymous with Assam tea.
Barkakoty further said that Assam is the birthplace of tea in India and as per the latest statistics, Assam alone produces about 53 percent of the country's total tea-while Assam produces 52.9 percent of the country's tea, West Bengal produces 24.8 per cent, Tamil Nadu 14.6 per cent, Kerala 5.7 per cent, Karnataka 0.5 per cent and other States 1.4 per cent.
Saying that tea should be marketed as a life style beverage, he also pointed out that efforts should be taken up to open tea lounges to attract the young generation of the country, which forms 60 per cent of the country's population.
The NETA chairman also demanded the central government to shift the head office of Tea Board from Kolkata to Guwahati to serve the greater interest of people connected with tea cultivation.