New Delhi- Don’t be perplexed if you can’t find any flavor in your premium Darjeeling tea that you buy from your neighborhood store or have it delivered online.
It could be lower quality tea imported from Nepal and sold as premium Darjeeling tea.
India imports a large amount of tea from Nepal. In 2020-21, nearly 10.74 million kg of tea were imported from neighboring Himalayas.
However, a parliamentary standing committee has been told that due to large volumes of lower quality tea from Nepal being wrongly branded as Darjeeling tea, the premium price of genuine Darjeeling tea in world markets is falling. .
Indeed, Nepal tea is sold at a much cheaper price due to its low production cost and inferior manufacturing process.
Due to this, huge financial losses are incurred on the Indian treasury. It has further been stated that more than half of India’s total tea imports come from Nepal, the Darjeeling tea report recently tabled in parliament said.
The standing committee was distressed that the free and easy influx of substandard tea from neighboring countries, especially Nepal, is jeopardizing the tea industry in India.
It is appalling to see that lower grade tea from Nepal is being sold and re-exported as premium Darjeeling tea which not only dilutes India’s global brand image but also affects tea prices on the internal market, according to reports.
The tea industry is the backbone of the economy of Darjeeling district in West Bengal and the rise of Darjeeling tea duplicity poses a threat to tea production and the livelihoods of smallholders in regional tea.
“Nepal’s fake Darjeeling tea undermines the vision of the government’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ model,” the report said.
The committee recommended the relevant department to take strong and vigilant measures to counter the importation of poor quality and cheap tea from neighboring countries, especially Nepal.
The committee also recommended the establishment of an NABL-accredited quality control laboratory in the Darjeeling district to verify compliance with quality standards of each shipment of imported tea.
He said an investigation should be conducted by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) into the dumping of tea from Nepal and to suggest remedial action and the imposition of anti-dumping duties on imported tea. (IANS)