Darjeeling stir: Tea industry hit by protests
Darjeeling (WB): The indefinite shutdown in Darjeeling hills has hit hard its famed tea industry with the premium quality ‘second flush’ tea leaves going waste causing heavy losses to the garden owners and putting at stake the livelihood of more than two lakh tea workers.
Darjeeling is home to 87 tea gardens and the ongoing shutdown has pushed them to the brink. The tea garden owners feel that they will be losing 45 per cent of their yearly revenue.
“This is the season of second flush, which gives very high quality tea leaves. The tea that is produced in this season accounts for around 40 per cent of the total revenue generated. We will be losing it completely as the leaves will get elongated, Arun Singh, managing director at Goodricke Group Ltd said.
The West Bengal-based group owns several tea estates in Darjeeling and produces around 10 percent of the total tea produced in the hills.
Flush means picking up of small high quality leaves at the beginning of the season and the tea produced out of it are one of the best in the world.
S.S. Bagaria, former chairman of Darjeeling Tea Association and owner of four tea gardens, said the shutdown is a “death knell” for the tea industry of Darjeeling.
“This year in the first flush we had faced losses due to lack of proper rains. In the second flush we are facing this shutdown. We are losing premium quality tea. Now the leaves will get elongated and will have to be slashed off,” he said.