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Govt cracks down on imports of cheap teas to prevent mixing with superior Indian varieties

Photo for representation

The Centre on Thursday issued fresh orders to prevent the import of poor quality cheap teas into India for mixing with superior quality Indian teas for sale to domestic consumers.

As per the directions of the Minister of Commerce and Industries, four circulars have been issued by the Tea Board for protection of Darjeeling GI, Assam, Nilgiri and Kangra teas.

*All importers have been directed to ensure that the origin of imported tea is mentioned in all their sale invoices and not to pass off imported tea as teas of Indian origin.

*All distributors of tea have been directed not to blend cheap and inferior quality imported teas with Indian Origin teas for domestic consumption.

*Manufacturers of Darjeeling tea have been directed not to purchase green leaf from the outside GI area.

*The tea buyers have been directed not to blend imported tea with teas of Darjeeling/Kangra/Assam (Orthodox)/Nilgiri (Oththodox).

In order to ensure compliance of these directions, the Tea Board has started surprise checks on distributors/importers especially of Nepal Tea. A surprise check of three units in Siliguri was conducted on Thursday and samples were drawn for testing.

There have been some reports highlighting a surge in import of tea which is adversely affecting the domestic Indian tea industry.

However, the Commerce Ministry said that this is not true. The percentage of imports to total tea production is normally in the range of 1- 2%, out of which a sizable quantity is meant for re-export and not meant for domestic use.  The main purpose of tea imports into India is re-exports upon value addition and for blending purposes.  As compared to India’s tea production, tea imports are minimal, a commerce ministry statement said.