Siliguri (West Bengal), May 31 ANI | 6 months ago

A tea auction centre in Siliguri celebrated the feat of selling a record quantity of over 100 million kilograms of tea in 2013-14, by donating the proceeds of a charitable auction to the state's chief minister's relief fund.

Tea sales in the state achieved a record quantity of 107 million kg through the Siliguri Tea Auction Centre (STAC), amid fears that the nearby-situated Jalpaiguri Tea Auction Centre (JTAC) would take away a chunk of the business.

However, due to lack of infrastructure and tea warehouse facilities in the JTAC, the STAC got a boon of selling the record quantity, beating the earlier 100 million kg record, reportedly.

STAC Chairman, Kiran Kumar Mehra, said the achievement was remarkable and the proceeds of a charitable auction will be donated to the chief minister's relief fund.

"This was the first time that the magic figure of 100 million was ever crossed by this auction centre. So as a celebration and as a contribution of the tea industry to the welfare of the society at large, we decided to have a charitable auction. Producer members have contributed tea for this auction and buyer members are buying the tea. The entire sale proceeds will be donated to the chief minister's relief fund," said Mehra.

The centre was inaugurated on October 29, 1976 by the then State Chief of West Bengal, Siddhartha Shankar Roy, reportedly.

According to Mehra, about 40,000 to 50,000 employees are directly involved with the centre.

Like any other, the tea industry is also banking on the new government to provide material support for its rejuvenation.

Mehra said tea bushes in the area have become very old. He hoped the new government would look into the problems of the tea industry- marketing and rejuvenation of the tea bushes- and provide relief to all sections of this industry.

Close to 300 million kg of tea is produced annually in West Bengal and amounts to 20 percent of the total tea produce across the state.

West Bengal is one among the largest tea producing states of India. The area here has about 350 tea gardens and nearly 4, 00,000 workers are directly or indirectly involved in the industry here.

Reportedly, prior to the feat, the centre sold 99 million kg of tea in 1988. In 1982, the STAC was named the largest tea-selling centre in the world.

(Posted on 31-05-2014)

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