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Subsidy announced for green leaf tea growers in Nilgiris

Special Correspondent

Chief Minister urges Centre to redesign the Price Stabilisation Fund Scheme


  • Subsidy of Rs. 2 for every kg of green leaf tea
  • To be paid for six months
  • Those who own or operate up to 25 acres will be considered small growers

    CHENNAI: : Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday announced a subsidy of Rs. 2 for every kilogram of green leaf tea under the `Small Tea Growers Protection Scheme' (STGPS) for the 60,000 small growers of Nilgris district. The subsidy will be for six months, she said.

    In a statement here, she urged the Centre to redesign the Price Stabilisation Fund Scheme, as it had "stringent conditions." She had also written to the Prime Minister asking that the Centre reimburse the cost of the STGPS.

    Recalling her Government's "continuous and sustained measures" for the welfare of small tea growers and to safeguard them against adverse market conditions, she said the tea growers of Nilgris district had represented to her on July 5 detailing the serious impact of the steep fall in market prices.

    Having carefully and sympathetically considered their problems, she had decided to implement the STGPS. The subsidy would be computed on a per acre basis and was estimated to cost Rs. 28 crores.

    "Taking the average production at 1400 kg per acre for a period of six months, a total subsidy of Rs. 2,800 per acre will be paid to every small tea grower," she said. Those who owned or operated up to 25 acres would be considered small growers. The subsidy would be paid directly to them. In view of the urgent need to intervene on behalf of the small tea growers, she had ordered that the subsidy be disbursed immediately to all beneficiaries. The Centre's Price Stabilisation Fund Scheme (PSFS) was unlikely to provide any tangible benefit or protection to the small tea growers of Nilgris district, she said. The system of price band adopted under the PSFS also did not take into account the conditions in Nilgris. "The amount of relief available to small tea growers under this scheme is only Rs.1000 per grower, which is totally inadequate in the current situation." She called for a much more liberalised approach.

    Ms. Jayalalithaa spoke about a series of measures implemented by her Government from 2001 "to diagnose the problems afflicting the tea industry in Nilgris district and set right the position, dealing effectively with all these issues." The Centre extended a subsidy of Rs. 2 per kg for green leaf tea sold between February and May 2004 as a result of her efforts, she said.

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