Darjeeling, July 14: President Pranab Mukherjee today asked the exporters of Darjeeling tea to maintain quality and its brand name while complying with global norms.
Addressing the annual general meeting of Darjeeling Tea Association here, he said tea production is an important element of the country's planned economic development. "Currently India is the second largest producer of tea next to China.
There are many other countries like Kenya and Sri Lanka which produce tea. "Among all teas, Darjeeling tea requires a special mention as it occupies a very unique place particularly for the connoisseurs," Mukherjee said as he asked the producers to uphold the quality and brand name of Darjeeling tea.
The total tea production in India is nine lakh tons annually in comparison with China that produces a million tons of tea. The President said Darjeeling Tea has the Geographical Indication (GI) tag, which is to protect the rights of special products in specified countries, and it was essential that producers comply with the formalities as it would be advantageous for them.
The tea estates in Darjeeling have reportedly been ailing for long and incurring losses due to various accounts. The Darjeeling tea industry provides employment to one lakh workers, including 40,000 seasonal workers.
He complemented the Darjeeling Tea Association for having upheld the unique brand name of 'Darjeeling Tea' which is a welcome item on the breakfast tables of many people.
Mukherjee, who is on a three-day visit to Darjeeling, also appreciated that various cultural, minority and linguistic groups are living together in Darjeeling. "The essence of Indian culture and civilisation is synthesis.
Acceptance of diversity and celebrating plurality, underlining the unity amidst rich diversity are the true of characteristics of India.
"I find that Darjeeling is being melted in a pot and emerging as a symbol of this process of synthesis action," he said. West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and other dignitaries were present during the function.