This year the 58 tea gardens in the state recorded only 10.5 million kg finished tea, which is around 10 to 11 per cent less compared to the previous financial year, Secretary of the Tea Association of India (TAI) Tripura unit P K Sarkar said.
Abrupt rise in the input cost -coal, fertiliser and diesel is blamed for bringing more woes to the 'already troubled' tea industry, said Sarkar. He said almost all tea gardens need substantial investment to revive the tea plants, but it seems no one is interested to invest money keeping in mind the bleak future of the industry.
In Tripura, around 14,000 people are engaged in the industry on a permanent and semi-permanent level.
"We have been demanding for raising rubber plantation in certain portion of the granted tea cultivable land as cash crop. But the government has not paid heed on the core demand of the tea planters," he lamented.
According to the latest survey, of the total 14,000 hectares granted land for tea plantation, only 6,000 hectares land is actually covered with the tea plantation. The tea planters want the state government to allow them to raise rubber trees as cash crop to tide over the crisis in the tea industry.