Jalpaiguri Tea Auction Opens After Two Years

JALPAIGURI, West Bengal

Bought-leaf factories and growers in the Dooars last week began e-auctions at the newly renovated North Bengal Tea Auction Center in Jalpaiguri.

The NBTAC auction sold 12,570 kgs of tea in its May 8 debut with prices ranging from high of INRs 168 ($3.083) to a low of INRs 100 ($1.85).

The center, which serves 158 gardens in the region and 54 bought-leaf factories, was opened in February 2005 but closed in November 2009 when offerings waned due largely to poor roads and infrastructure. Jalpaiguri is centrally located in West Bengal with a new railroad station and industrial zone. It joins auction centers in Kolkata (south) and Siliguri (north).

The Economic Timesreported that Smaraki Mahapatra, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri and the chairperson of the centre, inaugurated the e-auction system at the auction centre.

Kamal Bhattacharya, the chief executive officer of the centre, said the entire stock had been sold through the online auction. Sanjay Dhanoti, the president of the North Bengal Tea Producers' Association, representing the BLFs, said they would participate in larger numbers at the auctions conducted by the centre in the future.

Bhattacharya told The Hindu Business Line that owners of tea gardens in other districts of the State might also join the e-auction. Jalpaiguri district produced about 145 million kg of tea a year, he said.

Offerings from 12 bought-leaf factories were on sales along with teas from two Dooars gardens.

Sources: The Hindu Business Line, The Economic Times

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