Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], June 1 (ANI): The North Bengal tea industry, which accounts for around 25 per cent of the total production of Indian tea, has incurred hefty losses this year due to very less rain and the incessant effect of pests.
The industry is around 15 per cent behind the average production and it will touch up to 32 per cent, said tea planters. Even the irrigation has almost come to a halt due to a low water level.
According to the planters, several diseases have plagued the tea gardens in several gardens in Terai, Dooars and hills due to lack of rain. Looper, Helopeltis and Red spider caterpillars are affecting the tea plantations.
Satish Mitruka, a planter from Siliguri said, "The industry is experiencing a drought-like condition. The plantations are not getting natural showers for long, with the deficiency helping pests to damage the crops. The water level of the rivers has gone down. As a result, the industry is again unable to use the artificial irrigation system everywhere. In this situation, the government's financial support can only save the industry."Sandip Ghosh, a tea garden manager near Siliguri said, "Tea is a seasonal crop, heavily reliant on good rains. But this year, lack of rainfall has severely hit the tea industry and it is facing a drought-like situation. As a result, our garden is 15 per cent behind from last year and it cannot be made up. We received at least 15mm of rainfall last year, and it is just 6.3mm in our garden this year."Santi Orao, a garden supervisor near Siliguri said, "Due to the less rainfall the tea leaves are not growing properly. So the number of garden workers is less than before."The total tea production of India is around 1400 million kgs every year, of which North Bengal contributes about 250 million kg. (ANI)