Centre takes steps to curb blending of 'inferior quality' imported tea with premium Indian teas

  • The commerce ministry has started conducting surprise checks to ensure registered buyers abide by their orders
A majority of the blended teas currently available in the market is actually for re-exports(Bloomberg file photo)
A majority of the blended teas currently available in the market is actually for re-exports(Bloomberg file photo)
Published on Nov 11, 2021 08:09 PM IST
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Written by Ayshee Bhaduri | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Tea board of India took a major step to curb the blending of teas of inferior qualities with teas of Indian origin from Darjeeling, Kangra, Assam (Orthodox) and Nilgiri (Orthodox). Registered buyers have been directed to avoid blending imported tea of inferior quality with teas from these regions.

“In view of teas of inferior qualities being imported & blended with teas from Darjeeling, Kangra, Assam (Orthodox) & Nilgiri (Orthodox), it's directed that henceforth no registered buyers of teas shall blend any ported tea with teas aforementioned regions from today,” a notice released by the board says.

"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," the commerce ministry said. The board warned that failure to abide by these instructions “will invite action as deemed fit”.

Besides this, manufacturers of Darjeeling tea have been directed not to purchase green leaf from the outside GI (geographical indication) area. Darjeeling Tea, along with Kangra Paintings, Tirupati Laddu, Nagpur Orange and Kashmir Pashmina have registered GIs, to convey an assurance of quality and distinctiveness that is typical of its area of origin.

The chairman of Tea Board of India, PK Bezboruah, had earlier raised an alarm over cheap imported tea from Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia being blended with homegrown teas, which brings down the quality and the price of domestic teas. Data collected by the board showed that tea imports increased by 34 per cent during January-August this year compared to the same time last year.

The commerce ministry has started conducting surprise checks to ensure registered buyers abide by their orders. "Surprise check of three units in Siliguri was conducted on November 11, and samples were drawn for testing," the ministry said.

A majority of the blended teas currently available in the market is actually for re-exports, since custom duty is not charged on tea imports meant for re-exports, however, a certain percentage also gets absorbed in the domestic market.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022