Small tea growers seek relaxation

ITANAGAR, Apr 13: The small tea growers of Papum Pare district have appealed to the state government to offer some form of relaxation to them during the lockdown.
Nabam Chunu, a small tea grower in Sonajuli, said the government should allow tea leaves to be plucked while maintaining the physical distancing norms.
Another tea grower, Taba Tubin of Chessa village, said they have not been able to pluck their tea leaves due to the lockdown and this is causing them heavy losses.
“There are 750 tea growers in Papum Pare district. We have been hit hard by the lockdown order. Till now not a single government official has visited us to know about our plight,” he said.
Techi Bapi, a resident of Durpang, who is also tea grower, said the lockdown has made life miserable for them.
“We are into growing tea for the last 20 years. But things have become difficult due to the lockdown. The people of the area have extended support to the government and have been in self-imposed quarantine by blocking the roads. But as the lockdown has been extended, we are getting worried,” he said.
He said the tea growers are finding it hard to even pay the salaries of their labourers.
“As we can’t pluck leaves, there is no sale, and therefore we cannot pay the labourers’ salaries,” Bapi said.
He appealed to the state government to let the Papum Pare tea factory located in Sonajuli to function, so that they can sell their tea leaves.