Tea Board cautions Darjeeling tea gardens of stringent action if found violating GI norms

Tea Board cautions Darjeeling tea gardens of stringent action if found violating GI norms

Darjeeling: Following alleged complaints regarding the processing of leaves sourced from outside the GI area by certain tea gardens thereby jeopardizing the name and fame of the world-famous Darjeeling tea, the Tea Board of India has urged the Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA) to keep a strict tab on member gardens. Incidentally, Darjeeling tea was the first product from the country to be granted the GI in 2004. It was also granted the geographical indication status by the European Union in October 2011. Only 87 gardens located in the Hills of the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts can label their tea as "Darjeeling."

In a letter to the DTA, the Tea Board has stated that at regular intervals the board receives reports or complaints that green leaves, sourced from outside the GI area are being processed by some unscrupulous manufactures for short term gain exposing the entire system to peril. "The Board though attend to each such complaint, it is also expected that Darjeeling Tea Association being the equal partner in the protection of Darjeeling GI should act in a proactive manner and persuade member gardens to refrain from such activities failing which the Board may also be informed so that visible action can be taken against such manufacturers" cautioned the Tea Board in the letter to the DTA.

The Tea Board further stated that it has adopted a plethora of protections under various jurisdictions to protect the purity, potency, reputation, name and fame of Darjeeling tea. "For successful implementation of this system the Board has also obtained undertaking from each of the 87 gardens certifying that none of the garden shall purchase any green leaf from any garden located beyond the demarcated geographical area of Darjeeling GI failing which the Board shall be at liberty to initiate civil and criminal action against the errant gardens," stated the letter. Reacting to the Tea Board letter, BK Saria, Chairman, DTA, stated "The Tea Board has pointed out illegal activities by our member gardens with respect to purchase of green leaf from outside the GI boundaries. We urge upon all members to refrain from such activity and as an association for the well being of all members we will be proactive and will inform the Tea Board of any such acts without fear or favor to anyone." The Chairman further stated that it is of utmost importance that pure and original Darjeeling tea reaches the connoisseurs both in the country and internationally. "DTA urges the stakeholders to be loyal to the Darjeeling brand. We have further plans to ensure and uphold the consumers interest," stated Saria. In the past also DTA has appraised all concerned authorities regarding illegal import of tea from Nepal through the Indo Nepal borders of Raxaul, Jogbani and Panitanki LCS.

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Darjeeling: Following alleged complaints regarding the processing of leaves sourced from outside the GI area by certain tea gardens thereby jeopardizi

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