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Chai Pe Charcha: School students to learn about famous Assam tea?

By Maitreyee Boruah

Guwahati, May 21: If the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) agrees to the suggestion given by a group from Assam, school students across the country would be able to learn in depth about the famous Assam tea.

According to a report published in the Guwahati-edition of The Telegraph, Golaghat-based North Eastern Tea Association (NETA), wrote a letter to the Union human resource development minister Smriti Irani in December last year to add a special chapter on tea in the NCERT textbooks.

Assam tea

"In Assam, tea is not just a product or commodity. Tea is a culture--a culture steeped in history and a history replete with highlights of development and contribution to economic growth and social progress," stated the NETA letter.

"The tea industry is agro-based and labour oriented. It provides direct employment to over one million people. Through its forward and backward linkages another 10 million people derive their livelihood from tea. Tea is the most traditional, affordable and healthy beverage in India. It is the most widely consumed beverage across the length and breadth of the nation. Tea is the cheapest beverage in the world, next only to water," added the letter.

Bidyananda Barkakoty, NETA adviser, said, "The tea is the only beverage in India, which has its roots in India's freedom struggle. The first Indian tea-planter, Maniram Dewan, was an early patriot and was involved in the rebellion against the British in the 1857 mutiny. The British subsequently hanged him."

The group has around 123 members who produce 80 million kgs of tea.

Assam tea 2

In its reply to the letter, the NCERT, on May 13, said, "The contents related to tea have been included adequately at relevant places in all geography textbooks from classes V to XII. Tea is an important beverage crop in India, keeping this in view, geographic conditions for cultivation of tea and tea leaves harvesting by women have been illustrated through text and visuals. Moreover, distribution of tea in India has also been shown through maps."

"This will be placed before the Textbook Development Committee during revision of textbooks," NCERT added.

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