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In north Bengal, tea plucking and manufacturing would resume in the Terai and the Dooars from February 14 while for the Darjeeling hills, the first date for such activities is February 21
The Tea Board of India has come up with different circulars with dates of plucking tea leaves and tea manufacturing for different tea growing areas of the country. For the past couple of years, the board has initiated this practice to ensure that no poor quality of tea is produced during winter months when fresh leaves stop coming.
In north Bengal, tea plucking and manufacturing would resume in the Terai and the Dooars from February 14 while for the Darjeeling hills, the first date for such activities is February 21.
For all seven northeast states including Assam, and for Bihar, the date is February 14. For Sikkim, the date is February 21.
However, in two states of north India, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, tealeaves can be plucked and processed only from March 7. This is because winter is longer in these states, said a tea expert.
“The dates have been finalised in consultation with experts so that plucking and processing resumes in this year only after the winter dormancy is over and fresh leaves and buds start sprouting,” said a source in the Board.
The circulars have said that other than Darjeeling and Sikkim, those who make orthodox or specialty teas in other tea-growing belts can start the process a week ahead, that is, from February 7.
The decision has been welcomed by stakeholders of the tea industry who had earlier pointed out that some tea producers continue their operations even during the winter months, which leads to production of poor quality teas.
“We welcome the decision of the tea board. New leaves have started coming in bushes. We aspire for a good first flush tea that fetches good price in domestic and international markets,” said a tea planter in Siliguri.