West Bengal small tea gardeners demand relief to protect tea industry

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Siliguri (West Bengal), June 15 (ANI): Small tea garden owners in West Bengal's Siliguri city have demanded relief by way of subsidies on fertilizers and tax exemptions to protect the industry.

At the 16th annual conference of the North Bengal Tea Planter's Association here on Sunday, they complained that they were being overburdened with all sorts of taxes.

"The government asks for tax for tea leaves, agriculture tax, cess, income tax. We cannot survive like this," said Ajatu Kujru, a small tea plant owner.

They said that while the cost of production is increasing, the price of tea-leaves is coming down.

"We have told this to the State Government, Central Government and the tea board that the prices should be fixed. Fixed prices of tealeaves would benefit us. The cost of production has gone up, the cost of pesticides and fertilizers we use have also increased," said Nitai Majumder, Secretary of North-Bengal Small Tea Planters Association.

"The costs of labour working in our gardens have also increased. The cost of everything has increased, but the cost of tealeaves is going gown everyday," Majumder added. (ANI)

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