Begin typing your search above and press return to search.

Assam: Rain, hailstorm hits tea industry in Barak Valley

By Staff Correspondent
Assam: Rain, hailstorm hits tea industry in Barak Valley
Representational Image 

Silchar, May 4: Heavy rainfall and hailstorms over the past few days across various places in Barak Valley have severely affected the tea industry in southern Assam.

Officials of the Surma Valley branch of the Indian Tea Association (SVBITA) and the Tea Association of India (TAI) Barak Valley branch have expressed grave concerns about the situation.

In a release issued to the media, Aditya Chakraborty, secretary of the SVBITA, informed that rain and hailstorms have wreaked havoc across several tea estates in the valley and the planters here are worried about the second flush tea and overproduction scenario as well.

“During the month of April this year, widespread damage due to hail and thunderstorms has been reported from gardens such as Koomber, Coombergram, Rosekandy, Jellalpore, Dewan, Larsingah, Martycherra and Pathemara Tea Estates in Cachar district and Dholai, Narsingpore, Lallamookh, Bandookmara Tea Estates in Hailakandi district. While hailstorms are a common phenomenon during this period of the season, the scale of the damage due to the inclement weather has impacted the tea industry the most. The hailstorms have led to severe injury to tea bushes that are on the verge of the start of the second flush yield, besides extensively damaging the factory, trough shade, solar panels, bungalows, staff and labour quarters, among others. The situation has worsened with the frequent power supply interruptions at the tea estates. The second flush tea accounts for 20–25 percent of the total tea production. However, the month of April has already witnessed a drop in crop yield with the pattern and frequency of hailstorms witnessed throughout the month, resulting in a drastic drop in tea production with a setback of at least two months of recovery period,” Chakraborty maintained.

He further added that since many years, the tea industry in Barak Valley has been struggling with issues like rising production costs and unremunerative prices.

Due to the losses sustained at this juncture of the season following the hostile weather, the situation has only become more challenging for the tea industry in Barak Valley, Chakraborty said.

In another communique, Sorodindu Bhattacharjee, secretary of TAI, Barak Valley branch, underscored the plight of the industry. “Thousands of hectares of tea plantations in Hailakandi district have been damaged due to hail and storms that caused leaf laceration and leaf fall in the LP, MS and UP areas; shade trees were fallen; electric lines and poles got uprooted; and the roofs of dwelling houses, factories, and store buildings have flown away in many places. Our member gardens in Hailakandi, namely Aenakhal Tea Estate, Roopacherra Tea Estate, Manipur Tea Estate, Koya Tea Estate, South Cachar Tea Estate, Burni Braes Tea Estate and Kunchanpore Tea Estate of Hailakandi Districts, have suffered substantially. Our member tea gardens from the Dwarbund (Chatla-bheel) area of Cachar District, namely Irongmara Tea Estate, Borojalengha Tea Estate, West Jalinga Tea Estate, Kailashpur Tea Estate and Dwarbundh Tea Estate, have also suffered extensive damages due to a cyclonic storm coupled with hail on Tuesday night."

The supply of electricity during the month of April 2024 in the tea gardens of Barak Valley was erratic, which has caused tea gardens to depend on captive power generation, resulting in an abnormal and uneconomical increase in the cost of production. "We are apprehending 50 percent crop loss in the month of May 2024 in comparison to the crop harvested in the same period last year,” Bhattacharjee maintained.

Next Story