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Friday, September 09, 2011

Assam to get Northeast's first integrated tea park

Reported in the Economic Times GUWAHATI: The first integrated tea park of the Northeast will come up at Chaygaon on the outskirts of Guwahati. Around Rs 23 crore will be invested in the project. The pre-feasibility report of the park is already prepared. Sources in Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) told ET: "We have identified 200 bighas of land for the tea park. We have already purchased and acquired 60 bighas. Process is on for procuring the remaining." Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, during his meeting with deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said that though tea is the biggest industry in Assam there was not a single integrated tea park in the state, which could cater to the needs of the industry. "The AIDC has taken steps to set up the tea park, which will create worldclass infrastructure for processing, warehousing, blending and packaging on the industry cluster concept. Tea export from the state will increase substantially with the operation of the park," the sources added. Based on the techno-economic feasibility report, AIDC has re-casted the project cost from Rs 39.67 crore to Rs 23.40 crore. The fund is expected to be generated from the leased out space and assistance to the state for developing export infrastructure and allied activities. Currently, Guwahati has around 14 lakh square feet of warehousing facilities scattered in different locations. Assam's tea production was estimated at 480.2 million kg (mkg) last year, which was down by 19.7 mkg compared to the previous year's production of 499.9 mkg. Tea plantation is expanding fast in non-traditional areas and the park is expected to assist the growers in the non-traditional areas. While Assam and Tripura are traditional tea-growing states, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim constitute the non-traditional areas. The Northeastern region accounts for 55% of the area under tea and 53% of the production. Tripura produces 7.5 mkg annually. The non-traditional areas together produce 2.98 mkg annually.

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