Tea planters in Bihar seek exemption from land ceiling
- Under the Bihar Agriculture Investment Promotion Policy (BAIPP) the state government has introduced tea as one of the important investment categories to boost the sector.
Tea planters from Bihar's Kishanganj and adjoining districts have approached deputy chief minister Tarkishore Prasad seeking exemption from the land ceiling for individual planters to set up plantations and processing units above the prescribed limit of 25 acres. They said the medium-range or big size plantations need 200 to 500 acres.
The government has come up with the new Bihar Agriculture Investment Promotion Policy ( BAIPP) and introduced tea as one of the important investment categories to boost the sector.
“The lifting of the exemption limit is crucial for attracting investors as the existing ceiling limit is not conducive for bigger plantations. There is no ceiling in states like West Bengal and Assam where land is given by the government on lease. ...the government should accord tea processing, plantation, and packaging [the status] of agro-based industry,” said, Raj Karan Daftari, president of Ashok Bihar Tea Planters Association, which represents planters in Kishanganj district.
He said the planters have long been demanding the exemption from the ceiling to boost the growth of the sector. “ It is good the government has announced subsidy and incentives for setting up tea processing units. But that also requires land,” Daftari said.
He highlighted how the Bihar Industrial policy, 1995, had provisions of lifting land ceiling.
There are nine tea processing plants in Kishanganj, which has the potential for nine more.
Agriculture secretary N Saravana Kumar said he has taken note of the matter and the processes have started to address it. “ We have already taken up the matter with the revenue and land reforms department... We are seriously looking into the matter."
BAIPP nodal officer A C Jain said they are getting a good response from probable investors. “Tea planters and producers can avail the incentives under promotion policy for setting up processing units as a huge stock of green leaf goes to the neighbouring state for processing. There is a potential of setting nine to 10 units,” he said.