The Tea Board of India, on Friday, cancelled the permanent licences of 156 tea exporters for non-performance. Many of the exporters were found to be bogus.

The action came after a month-long review during which it was revealed that these exporters were neither performing nor submitting the returns as per a statutory need. The development was confirmed by a senior Tea Board official. Export licences are given under the Tea Distribution and Export Control Order and anyone exporting teas has to hold a valid licence from the Tea Board.

It was learnt that licences given are either permanent or temporary, where the latter is for a period of three years. Sources said that the action followed the virtual non-receipt of any data from the exporters. “Only 30 per cent of the licence holders submit data,” sources said.

Following a thorough review, it was decided to send notices to 194 regular exporters. “Subsequently the decision to cancel 156 licences was taken, as it was found that 100 had not replied to the notice and around 60 notices had bounced, indicating that they were either bogus exporters or were no longer interested in exports.”

In the review exercise, nearly 90 per cent of the temporary licencees were also weeded out, as it was seen that their licences had anyway lapsed. Now 290 more temporary licences would be reviewed this month, as their three-year period expires at the end of December.

It may be mentioned that having an export licence entitles a company to a host of benefits including income tax relief and duty draw reliefs.

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