State provides paid-up share capital of Rs.4 crore
The State Forest Department-owned Tamil Nadu Tea Plantation Corporation (TANTEA) is all set to modernise its eight factories functioning in The Nilgiris and Coimbatore districts.
Sources in the department told The Hindu that the government recently provided paid-up share capital of Rs. 4 crore to the Corporation, which would be utilised for modernising the factories as well as improving the amenities for its employers.
The Corporation would spend totally Rs. 4 crore for the works. While Rs 2.70 crore would be for modernisation, another Rs. 70 lakh for improving the amenities in the residential quarters of its employees. With the remaining amount, machinery for plucking tea leaves would be purchased, said the sources.
Under modernisation of the factories, the Corporation proposed to procure new heaters, machines to electromagnetically remove the brown stock from the tea dust and for replacing the fermenting drums. The amenities for the labours would mainly focus on providing toilet facilities in their residential quarters. Works on modernisation and providing toilets to the labours would begin soon, said the sources.
Explaining the procurement of machinery for tea plucking, a senior Forest official said the machinery would come in handy when there was shortage of labour. The Corporation was facing labour shortage at its estates in the Valaparai area, as many local people have moved to Tiruppur to work in the hosieries and dyeing units there.
After three years, the TANTEA is expected to record a profit by the end of the current financial year. This was made possible only due to the increase in the tea price. During 2009-10 fiscal, the average price of per kg tea was Rs. 78.34, which dipped to Rs 64. 79 in 2010-11 and in the succeeding year a marginal increase was recorded in the per kg tea price, which stood at Rs. 67.54. Till the end of third quarter of the current financial year, tea price was Rs. 84 per kg , the sources said.
Tea production reduced
With monsoon failure last year, tea production in the southern States has come down. This has resulted in a demand for tea, which ultimately led to the increase in price.
TANTEA authorities are hoping that the average price would touch Rs. 90 of per kg, which would help the Corporation record profits during the current fiscal, the officer added.