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Guwahati, July 19 (IANS) Assam's wish for shifting of the Tea Board of India (TBI) head office from Kolkata to Guwahati is unlikely to materialize, with its chairman Friday stressing that changes in the location would not be in the interest of tea sector in the country.
TBI chairman M.G.V.K. Bhanu however, said that the northeast zonal office of the board here would be strengthened with a chairman's office so that the chairman could make frequent visit to the state.
"Historically, the Tea Board headquarters is in Kolkata and a shift in the location would not be in the interest of overall tea sector in the country. However, steps are being taken to strengthen the Board office here with a chairman's office.
"This will facilitate the chairman to visit the region frequently and will help resolve all the issues," Bhanu said while interacting with media here.
Various tea planters associations like the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has been demanding the central government to shift the TBI office in Kolkata to Guwahati as Assam contributes more than half of country's total tea production.
While the country produced 1,135.07 million kgs of tea during 2012-13, Assam's share remained 588.14 million kg.
Bhanu however stressed on the need for having more good quality tea in the state and said that the consumers are ready to pay more for good quality of the beverage.
He also said that the board is all set to put factory code in place in next six months time in Assam to make the factories strictly adhere to the dos and don'ts for producing quality tea manufacturing.
Bhanu also appreciated the role played by the small tea growers and said that apart from small tea growers from Assam, the small tea growers from other northeastern states like Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are also going to make significant contribution in the tea sector near future.
"Our thrust is to protect the interest of small tea growers, guiding them with right type of materials so that quality is maintained," he added