Special Correspondent

Udhagamandalam: A recent order of the Tea Board barring 12 factories from participating in the auctions has been revoked.

Stating this to The Hindu here on Thursday, the Executive Director, Tea Board, R.D. Nazeem, said that they had been barred following a show cause notice issued by the Chairman of the Tea Board Basudeb Banerjee under the Tea Marketing Control Order 2003 for producing teas which did not adhere to the norms laid down under the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act.

The order was withdrawn after the owners of the factories appeared in person before the Chairman and gave a written assurance that henceforth they would procure only fine tea leaves and process them as per the specifications of the Tea Board.

The Chairman had made it clear that it would be the last warning issued by the Tea Board and if their teas fail the PFA tests in future, their licenses would be cancelled.

The tea trade associations in Coonoor, Kochi and Coimbatore as well as the brokers and the Teaserve had been informed about the revocation of the order.

Mr. Nazeem added that during inspections carried out by the Tea Board teams in the last few weeks, considerable improvement in the procurement and processing standards were noticed in the factories.

This, he felt would ensure that the prices of South Indian teas would continue to be good in spite of increase in supply of CTC teas in the world market. He said that that the Tea Board was in the process of permanently shutting down and cancelling the licences of an instant tea factory and an organic manure factory in Coimbatore which were temporarily sealed recently. Investigations had brought to light large scale diversion of tea waste by these two factories for adulteration purposes.