Guwahati: The shortage of coal stock is not only reducing power generation but also hampering tea production in Assam and other north-eastern states of the country.
Due to a combination of factors such as excess rainfall hitting coal movement and high prices of imported coal, the country has been facing a shortage of coal stock since the first week of October this year.
The situation has forced the Tea Association of India (TAI) to move the Union minister of commerce & industry seeking his intervention.
The tea industry of Northeast covering Assam, West Bengal, Sikkim has been suffering due to non-availability of coal and surge in prices of coal,” TAI president PK Bhattacharjee said.
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Northeast constitutes 80 per cent of the tea production of the country. Almost all of the manufacturing process of tea requires the consumption of energy.
“More or less 79 per cent of tea production of Northeast depends on conventional fuel mainly coal. Requirement of coal is 1.125 kgs for making of per kg made tea,” Bhattacharjee said.
The paucity of coal has caused severe distortion in the market value of available coal to the extent that the cost per tonne of coal has shot up from Rs 10,000 per MT to Rs 19,500 per MT, he said.
The production of coal in Assam has been stopped due to the reported cause of the forest department has cancelled the lease to the NEC (North Eastern Coalfield).
The present requirement of coal in tea growing areas of Northeast is therefore primarily being met from Asansol, Raiganj coalfield and coal imported from Indonesia, he said.
The months of October and November witnessed the production of 263-265 million kg of the crop in the Northeast.
The TAI sought support from the Union government in making available adequate coal supply to the tea estates so that non-availability of coal do not cause disruption in Production in the manufacturing of tea.
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