The Centre is closely working with the West Bengal government to address issues relating to tea gardens in the state, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday.

She also informed the Lok Sabha that the Tea Board was preparing a special package for Sikkim tea.

The Commerce Ministry and the Tea Board are working closely with the West Bengal government on closed tea gardens and issues like finding new buyers for them, the Minister said during Question Hour.

"I am in close interaction with the West Bengal government," the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry said.

The tea industry in West Bengal has been facing crisis in recent times and many tea gardens have closed down, leaving many jobless.

To another query, she said the state government has disallowed conversion of some tea gardens and the matter has been taken up with it.

Meanwhile, Sitharaman said the upgradation of Darjeeling Tea Research and Development Centre (DTR&DC) is an ongoing process and the aim is to make it a centre of excellence.

"Tea Board, through DTR&DC, has involved the private sector including privately run commercial tea estates in developing new cultivars useful for enhancing productivity of tea estates and improving tea quality," she noted.

To another query, she said that at present, there was no proposal for setting up a new research centre by the Tea Board.