The president of the Tea Association of India (TAI), Raj Bansal, today reacted vehemently on the non-release of subsidy by the Tea Board of India (TBI) for the development of the tea industry in Bengal. Addressing the 49th Annual General Meeting of the TAI here today, Mr Bansal said: “The non-disbursal of the accumulated subsidy amount for the 11th and 12th Plan period has seriously compromised the Tea Board’s role of acting as a developmental agency, a position that needs to be urgently rectified.”

“Pending disbursement of accumulated subsidy amount by the Tea Board, necessary pre-approval survey, post-activity inspections have to be continued, since these schemes have been included in the mid-term framework, so that developmental activities do not cease in the tea industry,” he said.

Notably, several planters in this region, including the Hills, are unhappy with the Tea Board of India over the non-disbursal of the accumulated subsidy. Deputy director (tea development) of the Tea Board of India, RK Kujur, on the other hand, said they were waiting for orders to disburse the subsidy to planters.

“Deputy chairman Arun Kumar Ray is trying hard to bring funds from the Centre. We will release the subsidies, which are pending for North Bengal, whenever such funds become available,” he said. Mr Bansal, meanwhile, said that Section-4 of the Tea Act 1953 and Section 10 state that it will be the duty of the Board to promote, “by such measures as it thinks fit, the development under the control of the Central government of the tea industry.”