'Run For Tea' march to promote tea marketing, industry . . Image Source: IANS News

Agartala, Feb 19 : In a bid to promote the state's tea industry, a colourful "Run For Tea" march was organised on Wednesday in Tripura, the second largest tea producing state in the northeast India after Assam.

"Run For Tea" is a nationwide initiative adopted by the Tea Board of India in collaboration with states' tea development authorities across the country to boost tea awareness among masses.

Earlier, similar initiatives were held at Silchar in southern Assam and Nilgiri in western Tamil Nadu.

Tripura Tea Development Corporation (TTDC) Chairman Santosh Saha said, "An international buyers-sellers' meet has been planned at Hapania international fair ground in February end to promote tea as well. While the tea industry in Tripura is over 104 years old, it mainly produces CTC (Crush, Tear and Curl) variety of tea." "Tripura in recent years has created a niche for its own products with stress on organic tea, green tea, white tea and other brands of exotic teas," Saha added.

Tripura Law and Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath flagged-off the mega "Run For Tea" march, in which Deputy Chairman of the Tea Board of India Arun Kumar Roy, TTDC Chairman, Padma Shri awardee and ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar, Dronacharya awardee Bisweswar Nandy, Tripura Industries and Commerce and Tourism Departments Secretary Gitte Kirankumar Dinkarrao among others took part.

TTDC Chairman Saha said that Tripura is now exporting tea abroad and it's being sold in the national and regional auction markets in the country with higher rate.

Tripura has 54 operational tea gardens, among which 42 are individually owned, three are run by the TTDC and 13 are operated under cooperative societies. Around 3,000 small tea growers also run their tea gardens with the government's support.

Saha said that after Assam, Tripura is the second largest tea producing state in the northeast, producing around 10 million kg of tea annually with an area of 6,885-hectare hectares under tea cultivation. About 20,000 people are directly employed in the 54 big gardens in Tripura, with another 15,000 people involved in 230 small gardens contributing immensely to the growth of the state's overall economy.

The TTDC Chairman said that Tripura has started selling tea through the 9.15 lakh fair price shops under the Public Distribution System (PDS). Tripura started producing tea in 1916 at Hiracherra estate in Unakoti district in northern Tripura, adjoining Assam.

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