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Tea association seeks a training institute for skill development in Assam
Tuesday, 16 August, 2011, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
The North-Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has asked the state government to set up a training institute, in order to develop the skills of the tea labourers in Assam.

“Shortage of manpower is going to be a major challenge for the tea industry,” Bidyananda Barkakoty, chairman, NETA, informed FnB News in a chat over telephone.

Following several years of prolonged struggle, the state's tea industry had undergone dramatic changes from 2007, yet some challenges confined mostly to shortage of manpower still remained.

Barkakoty said that the setting up of the HRD (Human Resource Development) institute and mechanisation of plantations could be a two pronged-strategy for providing solutions to the problems faced by the industry.

About mechanisation of plantations, currently there are some existing machines which are made in Germany, Japan, China and other countries and India has a lot of scope for improvements in the technology of the existing machines based on plucking standard, work culture, field drains and height of bush.

“We are seeking the help of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in this regard,” said Barkakoty and added that skill development at all levels was lagging in the industry.

He then said that Assam being the largest producer and exporter of tea, needed a training institute for workers right from the grass-root level to the managerial executives to meet the challenges for a sustainable development of the tea industry.

Barkakoty confirmed that the Association has urged the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) for the setting up of the HRD institute in the state as this would not only help improve the management with new techniques, but also develop new markets and contribute to the overall growth of the tea industry.

Meanwhile, he also urged the Government of Assam to persuade the Centre to declare tea as a national drink as it had evolved not just as a product or commodity, but as a culture from ages. He was addressing the 15th biennial meeting of the NETA recently, in Golaghat, Assam.

At the meeting, he suggested various ways to improve the tea industry and projected analysis on different areas such as the opportunities,

strengths, weaknesses, strategic plans and support to bring in changes to the existing problems of the tea industry.
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