Tea mills warn of not buying fresh leaves

Tea mills warn of not buying fresh leaves

Aug 16, 2014-

Mills have warned of not purchasing green tea leaves from farmers, stating that the District Development Committee (DDC) failed to address their demand

to rethink on the recently-hiked tax. After six years, the DDC recently doubled the tax on tea to Rs 2 per kg from Re 1.

Farmers, who are already suffering from lower prices and decreasing production, are worried the tax hike would hit them hard. Tea producers, or mill owners, have been agitating against the hike.

However, the DCC is firm on its decision. It said it would not roll back the hike as the decision was taken by the District Council. It said the tax is higher in other districts, and there is no reason for Ilam traders to agitate.

“The tax hike can’t be rolled back on the basis of my decision,” said Madan Koirala, local development officer. “It’s the decision of the council tax and traders should abide by it,” he said, adding tea producers should not pass the burden on to the farmers. However, tea producers said the tax hike would force them to close the mills at a time when tea prices are on the lower side.

Various rounds of talks have taken place between traders, DDC representatives, political leaders and stakeholders, but to no avail. Political leaders are also in the favor of tax hike. They have urged the traders to pay the tax as it was revised in line with the rules.

Tea produces have given a 7-day ultimatum to the DDC to roll back the hike. They have threatened to shut down factories if their demands are not met. “Annually, 35,000 kg tea is exported to overseas markets, while traders are forced to export rest of the tea to India at a cheaper rate,” said Kamal Mainali, official of the Himalayan Sangria-La Tea Industry.

Published: 17-08-2014 09:24

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