Chennai: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Friday announced that small-time tea growers in the State would get an additional Rs 2 per kg of green tea. The Chief Minister has allocated Rs 6 crore for this purpose and the payment will be paid to the beneficiaries from July to December this year. In a bid to relief to farmers, Jayalalithaa, after taking over as Chief Minister last year, had announced a similar scheme, which had come to an end in March, 2012. She had then hiked the price of green tea procured in Nilgris district from Rs 6 to Rs 8 per kg.
Around 22,000 small farmers who were members of the 15 cooperative tea factories in Nilgris district had benefited from this measure. The Chief Minister has taken the initiative to hike the procurement price of green tea considering the fact that the small-time tea growers, who are members of the Industrial Cooperative Tea Factories, have not been getting market rate for their produce since the machinery in these factories are too old. The CM has ordered payment of Rs 2 extra per kg to the small-time tea growers considering the prevailing market rates.
Besides, with a view to replace the old machinery in the 12 tea factories in Nilgris district to increase their production capacity and to increase the quality of the tea produced there, the Chief Minister has allocated Rs 5.46 crore as grant, which would used as capital expenditure. The CM has also allowed the Tamil Nadu Small Tea Growers’ Industrial Cooperative Tea Factories’ Federation Limited (INDCOSERVE) to earmark Rs 54 lakh from its fund for repairing the buildings in the tea factories.
During the earlier AIADMK regime, Jayalalithaa has ordered selling the tea procured from Nilgris farmers under the brand name ‘Ooty tea’ through the Public Distribution System. Further, Jayalalithaa also inaugurated a electronic auction centre, which was first of its kind in the world, on September 13, 2003, for procuring the tea produced by small farmers. Besides, she also implemented a special scheme to protect the small tea growers when the tea industry faced a crisis in 2005.