12 tea estates in State reopened

Special Correspondent

KOCHI: Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh has said that out of the 17 tea estates closed for over five years in Kerala, 12 had been reopened. Negotiations are in progress in respect of three, owned by RBT Group. Poabs Group is interested in taking over them. The cases pertaining to two other estates are being pursued by courts.

The Minister lauded the role of Labour Minister P.K. Gurudasan for sorting out the labour issues connected with the closed estates. He said that in West Bengal, only two estates out of 14 had been reopened. Assam had two and both had been reopened.

The rejuvenation scheme for tea estates needed to acquire thrust, the Minister said. The objective was to have replantation on 11,000 hectares a year. Only 60 per cent of the target could be achieved so far.