Cup of tea
Cup of tea
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The Indian Tea Association (ITA) has pegged a revenue loss of Rs 2,100 crore for the industry in Assam and West Bengal during March, April and May.

The association said that in these two states, the total loss of production during the three months will likely be 140 million kg.

Based on last year's North India auction prices, the estimated revenue loss will be Rs 2,100 crore, ITA said.

"The lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the financial stress of the tea industry," an ITA official said.

While input costs have been rising for the last five years, there has been no concomitant rise in prices.

Owing to the lockdown, ITA estimates production in Assam and West Bengal to have declined by 65 per cent during March and April, and around 50 per cent in May.

Deployment of workforce below normal strength has also led to operational problems, the official said.

The apex body of tea planters has urged the commerce ministry and the state governments of Assam and West Bengal to extend a financial package, which includes interest subvention, hike in working capital limits and relief in payments of electricity charges and PF dues.

On the export front, ITA said there is strong demand for Assam second flush tea with queries pouring in from Iran, Russia, UAE and Europe.

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