Darjeeling tea producers not worried by GJM bandh

Kolkata, Feb 11 (PTI) Tea producers in Darjeeling are notpressing the panic button as yet in view of the indefinitebandh called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the hills.

"There is nothing to worry since this is not theproduction time," said Andrew Yule Chairman and ManagingDirector Kallol Datta.

Datta told PTI, "Most of the preparatory work has beendone and the pluckers and employees have gone on annual leavein our factory."

He, however, said the strike would have an impact if itcontinued for a long stretch, since the flushing season willstart from March-end.

This is the first time that the tea gardens were broughtunder the purview of a bandh called in the hills.

The same view was echoed by the Duncan-Goenka group.

Srivardhan Goenka of the Duncan-Goenka group said, "Right now,there is no impact because of the bandh."

He said that although this is not the production time,only field maintenance was getting affected.

Although field maintenance was an important task, it wasnot that important, he said.

When contacted, Roshan Giri, the general secretary of theGJM, said, "We are forced to include the tea gardens. Becausethis is an all-out protest and we want justice. Everybody ison the street."

M Dasgupta, the Secretary of the Indian Tea Association(ITA), said that since this is not the production season,there is not much of a concern.

He said that the first flush would come in March.

Generally in winter, only development work like factorymaintenance takes place, he said.

"There will be no impact on production as of now," hesaid.

Giving statistics, he said that generally, during Januaryand February, production was nil.

In March, the figure was around 0.5 million kilograms,while it touched 1 million kilograms in April.

Considering Darjeeling''s annual production of around 8.6million kilograms, this was not substantial, he said.

Dasgupta said no work was reported in the gardens due tothe bandh call.

However, since this was not the flushing season time,there was no reflection on production.

"We are not pressing the panic button now," he said.

An official of Goodricke said that since this was not theseason, there was no question of production being affected.


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