Assam avails 70% total funds in SPTF's commencement year

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Guwahati, Sep 9 (UNI) The Special Purpose Tea Fund(SPTF), formed for reviving aging gardens, has received favourable response in the country, with Assam claiming 70 per cent of the total funds disbursed under the year of commencement last year.

Of the total Rs 14.30 crore disbursed as subsidy for 2007-08, Rs 10.02 crore of financial assistance was for Assam, Tea Board of India NE zonal office executive director Chandrajit Saikia informed here today. The SPTF was notified last year for helping tea planters in reviving aging gardens. Under the scheme, loans and subsidies are provided for uprooting of over 50 years of tea bushes and re-planting and also for rejuvenation in certain cases.

The Central government scheme targets to cover an area of 2.12 lakh hectares of uneconomical tea areas in a span of 15 years, with Assam likely to account for more than 50 per cent of the total assistance.

Mr Saikia informed that Rs 8.68 crore for 2282 hectares was sanctioned for Assam as subsidy against 215 application for replanting, while another Rs 1.34 crore was given for 771 hectares against 84 applications last year.

Altogether 81 loans, amounting to Rs 15.48 crore, were sanctioned, of which five were disbursed so far, he added.

On an all India basis, 577 applications were received covering 7533 hectares, of which 122 cases covering 1628 hectares and involving loan component of Rs 24.51 crore were sanctioned.

Mr Saikia affirmed that there was no dearth of funds under the SPTF and tea planters were now being convinced to avail of the benefits.

UNI SG PL DB1615

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