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Guwahati: The North Eastern Tea Association has said the abnormal surge in natural gas prices has become detrimental to the tea industry.

The increase in prices of natural gas comes in the backdrop of a surge in global energy prices amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“This time the industry is hard hit by the multifold increase of gas price,” Kamal Jalan Chairman of North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) said.

It has appealed to the Union Government that for the long-term sustainability of the tea industry, natural gas may be brought under the ambit of GST.

In a notification sent to ONGC, OIL and the Director-General of the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, the Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell said: “The price of domestic natural gas for the period April 1, 2022, to September 30, 2022, is $6.10/MMBTU on Gross Calorific Value (GCV) basis.”

The association said it has been observed that during the last ten months, that is from July 2021 to April 2022, the price of Natural Gas has risen from Rs. 5,085.00 to Rs. 21,119.57 per 1000 scum. 

“The per scum price of the Natural Gas has gone up by four times during the last ten months,” Jalan said.

This exorbitant hike in the price of Natural Gas has increased the Cost of Production (CoP) of Made Tea by not less than Rs.6 to Rs.8 per kg. Gas is used as fuel in the withering and drying of tea leaves during processing.

“With such increase in costs, if the prices of tea at the farm gate level does not increase then survival will be at stake,” he said. 

The association has appealed to the Government to take a serious note of this issue with immediate steps to curb the price of natural gas. The tea industry is already hit hard by unremunerative prices at the farm-gate level and climate change which has led to crop loss.

Also read: Gauhati HC Chief Justice calls for synergy among agencies to prevent wildlife crimes

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