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104-day statehood agitation strike losses Rs 200cr on Darjeeling tea industry

104-day statehood agitation strike losses Rs 200cr on Darjeeling tea industry
Siliguri: The 104-day shutdown during the statehood agitation has forced losses of at least Rs 200 crore on the Darjeeling tea industry, data from the Tea Board of India reveal.
The strike, called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha from June 15 and withdrawn on September 27, stopped tea production during the peak months. Tea board data show that only 2.07 million kilos of Darjeeling tea were produced this year till September.

"Last year, 6.88 million kilos were produced by September, which means we have already lost 4.81 million kilos this year," a senior planter said.

Another tea board stat revealed by the Indian Tea Association, the largest planters' association in India, shows that only 0.83 million kilos of Darjeeling tea sold at auctions between January and August this year.
"This auctioning was obviously done before the shutdown. The average price Darjeeling tea fetched was Rs 414.20 a kilo. Going by this, the industry has lost about Rs 200 crore because of the shutdown," the planter said.
A Siliguri-based tea exporter said the losses would be higher. "We lost the second flush, which makes up about 20 per cent of the production and fetches Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500 per kilo, far higher than the average auction price," he said.
Sandeep Mukherjee, principal adviser to the Darjeeling Tea Association, said the industry had been "hit hard".
"Work resumed at the tea gardens only in October when, because of changes in the weather, production started to decline," he said.
"Besides, the factories needed maintenance and the plantations, pruning. It's anybody's guess how much the gardens will be able to produce in the year's last quarter."
Only 1.25 million kilos were produced in the last quarter of 2016, equal to what was produced in September alone.

The Telegraph

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