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Planters’ forum to discuss garden lockdown impact with govt

GUWAHATI: Tea garden operations in Assam came to a halt in the wake of the lockdown imposed in the state from Tuesday evening till March 31 midnight, prompting the Consultative Committee of Plantations Associations (CCPA) to contemplate measures for overcoming the financial impact.

CCPA, a joint forum of tea planters, tea growers, tea sellers and tea brokers, had a video conference on Tuesday and decided to take up with the Centre and state government the issue of financial loss and other aspects such as immediate relief, short term and long term aid once normality is restored.

A statement issued North Eastern Tea Association (NETA), one of the constituents of CCPA, on Tuesday said that “the Assam tea garden lockdown is inevitable as per the government directive. We have re-confirmed with the state government. Therefore, tea garden operations in Assam will close down from 6 pm of Tuesday till 31st March midnight. Essential services will continue on roster basis.”

The Assam government on Monday announced a complete lockdown in the state for a week in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic even as no positive case has so far been confirmed in the state.

“Human life is more important than anything else and therefore we will cooperate and co-ordinate with the government in every possible way at this hour of grave crisis, NETA adviser, Bidyananda Barkakoty, said in the statement.

“However essential plant protection measures and irrigation may be required to avoid huge and permanent damage to tea plants. These two activities can be carried out with very limited number of workers and by maintaining social distancing. We will seek necessary permission from authorities as and when required,” Barkakoty said.

Tea is no more under the category of essential commodities. However, production and manufacturing units requiring continuous process have been allowed to continue to function after obtaining necessary approval from the district magistrate, with limited staff.

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Source: The Shillong Times

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