The Bharat Auction model for tea, which is already functional in south India, will be introduced in north India from the end of March, an official in the industry said on Saturday.
The pilot project will be conducted on March one so that all the features get tested by the stakeholders, following which the Bharat Auction model will be introduced in Kolkata, Guwahati and Siliguri from March 22, 2023.
“The auction system will shift from the existing English system to the Bharat Auction model from March 22. The pilot auction will be done on March one so that all the features are tested by the stakeholders,” secretary of Calcutta Tea Traders Association (CTTA) J. KalyanaSundaram said.
CTTA conducts the auctions in Kolkata, while Tea Auction Committee does both in Siliguri and Guwahati.
He said the new auction has been already functioning in south India, adding that the volume of tea transacted there is much lower than in north India. “Out of odd 600 million kg sold in the country through the auctions, north India accounts for 70% while the balance is in the south,” he said.
KalyanaSundaram said owing to the implementation of the new auction system, CTTA had postponed Sale 8 by a week, while Sales 9, 10 and 11 have been dropped due to insufficient of tea which is usual this time of the year.
It is the vendor which had provided the software for the new auction process, he added.
Though transition from the existing system has faced criticism from a section of the stakeholders, the Tea Board had been maintaining that it was mandate given to it for implementing the new process pan-India.
“Implementation of Bharat auction model pan-India is a mandate given to Tea Board. Criticisms only show resistance to change as the English auction system has been working since 2008-09,” an official of the Tea Board said.
Several tea brokers are of the view that the English system had been working well and there is no need for a change.
Mr. KalyanaSundaram said that the basic difference between the two systems is that in the Bharat Auction model, the bids have to entered before the lots offered go live, while in the English system, the bids can be made till a lot is 'knocked off' (sold).
In 2022, tea volumes sold through the auctions in north and south India stood at 590.5 million kg.