Tea Board HQ

The demand for shifting the head office of the Tea Board of India from Kolkata to Guwahati is a long-standing one. The present Tea Board set up under section 4 of the Tea Act 1953 was constituted on April 1, 1954. But what is unfortunate is that its head office is not located in the state which is the largest tea-producing state in the country. According to official statistics, Assam produces a little over 52% of the total tea produced in the country, followed by West Bengal (31 %), Tamil Nadu (11%), Kerala (4 %), and Karnataka (0.3 %), with other states like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim etc contributing the remaining 1.7 %. Unfortunately, successive governments at the Centre have chosen to lend a deaf ear to the demand. It is important to note that the Rubber Board's head office is situated at Kottayam in Kerala, which produces the highest quantity of rubber in India. Similarly, since Kerala produces the highest quantity of spices, the head office of the Spices Board in Cochin (Kerala). Karnataka is the largest producer of coffee; hence Coffee Board's headquarters is in Bengaluru. The same is the case with the Tobacco Board; its head office is in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, which is the largest tobacco-producing state in the country. Yet, Assam being the original home of Indian tea, and also the largest producer of tea not just in India but in the entire world, should have been naturally allotted the head office of the Tea Board of India. Yet, unfortunately, it is situated in Kolkata. West Bengal does not contribute the highest amount of tea-generated revenue to the state exchequer. Moreover, it was only recently pointed out by Sunil Jallan, the outgoing chairman of North East Tea Association (NETA) that while there has been a very significant upward rise in the graph of tea cultivation in Assam and the other Northeastern states, the other tea-growing states of the country have been registering a downward or stagnant status in this respect. According to NETA estimates, Northeast India will in the next few years be producing more than 55 per cent of India's total tea.