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T V Alexander is Upasi chief
Friday, 18 September, 2009, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
T V Alexander has been elected president of the United Planters Association of South India (Upasi) at the 116th annual conference of the association held at Coonoor. He is the managing director of Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company. He is also on the board of Tata Coffee Ltd. C N Nataraj has been elected the vice-president. He is a coffee planter from Chikmagalur in Karanataka.

Upasi officials were disappointed at the absence of Mallikarjun Kharge, Union minister for labour and employment who was scheduled to inaugurate the annual conference. Ms Roshni Sen, deputy chairperson of the Tea Board of India, inaugurated the conference in the absence of the minister. The four commodity board chairmen also gave the Upasi conference a miss this year.

Though prices continue to be firm, planters seem to be more concerned about the ever escalating production cost. "The wages cost, particularly for the plantations in the south, are the highest," said D P Maheshwari, the outgoing president of the Upasi. Delivering the presidential address at the 116th annual conference, he said the plantation sector was losing out on the export front because of the high social cost. He was it was necessary to have a re-look at some of the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act to protect the industry before it was too late.

He said the recently signed Indo-Asean Free Trade Agreement could spell disaster for the sector as whole. The sector was just recovering after a prolonged recession and would definitely not be in a position to withstand another turmoil. "We are nevertheless fortunate to have a huge domestic market, except for coffee, Maheshwari said.
 
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