The request was made by the North Bengal Tea Producers Welfare Association representing over 100 bought-leaf factories of North Bengal and Bihar through a letter to the Prime Minister, a copy of which was made available to the media today. These factories produce more than 100 million kg of tea.
The letter highlighted the importance of tea from economic as well as health points of view and said the domestic consumption of tea was increasing by three per cent annually. India produces around 1,200 million kg of tea out of which 900 million kg was consumed within the country.
"Tea is a natural drink since no foreign element is added during the manufacturing process. Due to its anti-oxidant property, tea is considered as a very healthy drink unlike other beverages," they said in the letter.
It said the tea gardens were situated in remote areas were no other industry could come up and provides employment to millions and was the largest employer after the Railways and Defence. Kisanganj in Bihar is a major tea growing area with over 25,000 acres in the district covered by tea plantation.