Government to revive Tea Estate: Ranjit
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 12: Agriculture Minister K Ranjit yesterday informed the Assembly that the State Government has already pumped in Rs 9 lakhs to revive the Jiribam Tea Estate though the Cabinet has already taken the decision to wind up the Manipur Plantation Crops Corporation, which earlier ran the show at the Tea Estate.

Answering to questions raised by Dr Nimaichand Luwang during a short duration discussion session at the Assembly yesterday, K Ranjit said that though the Cabinet has decided to shelve the Manipur Plantation Crops Corporation, efforts are being made to revive the Jiribam Tea Estate.

Stating that previous Governments had turned the Manipur Crops Plantation Corporation into a gravy train, the Minister said that due to the indiscriminate appointments there are 81 employees attached with the Corporation presently.

To meet the salary demands of the employees, the Government has to shell out Rs 42 lakhs per annum, said the Minister.

To top this, the maintenance of the Tea Estate tots up to Rs 46.11 lakhs per year, he informed.

Admitting that the Tea Estate has not been able to generate the desired level of income, Ranjit said that the highest returns recorded so far dates back a few years when it earned Rs 35 lakhs.

Since 2000-01 the estate has not been able to generate any income, he added.

As expenditure by way of meeting the salaries of the employees and maintenance far exceeded the income of the tea estate, it was decided to shelf the Manipur Plantation Crops Corporation, said Ranjit.

The annual deficit worked out to about Rs 50.72 lakhs, he added.

Ranjit also said that discussions are underway to decide whether to privatize the estate or let the Government manage it.

Since the Government pumped in Rs 9 lakhs in an effort to revive the tea estate in March this year, the estate has been able to produce 4 thousand kilograms of tea leaves.

The tea leaves were sold at Rs 5 per kg and so far sales proceed of the tea leaves has touched Rs 1.34 lakhs, said the Minister.

Giving his opinion on the matter Dr Nimaichand Luwang said that it would be in the fitness of things for the Government to try to revive the tea estate as it provides immense employment avenues and economic prospects.