Tea planters explore land use options

Calcutta, May 16: The tea industry is awaiting the Bengal government’s go-ahead for alternative use of land meant for tea cultivation so that producers can venture into horticulture, tourism and dairy farming.
The Bengal government yesterday told a group of industrialists during a closed-door meeting that it was considering a proposal to allow up to 25 per cent of tea land for alternative use to help the ailing industry.
“This is a welcome move although it is still in the early stages. It can go a long way in improving the overall health of the tea sector,” said Binod Mohan, chairman of the Darjeeling Tea Association.

Some gardens in Darjeeling such as Glenburn, Makaibari, Sourenee and Singtom have already begun tea tourism as an alternative source of income. Others such as Namring and Tindharia hope to start similar ventures once the state’s decision comes into effect formally.

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