Mentioning the shortage of coal and urea for the tea industry the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) of India has requested to use the Bangladesh waterways for exports.
Chairman Sunil Jallan made the statement while addressing the 20th Biennial General Meeting of NETA, and said the present scenario of the industry is "quite gloomy".
"It is always easy to wind up and withdraw during difficult times, but the mantra in tea has always been survive and revive. The problems are ours and therefore, we ought to look within ourselves to find solutions," he said, reports Republicworld.com.
The government can help only when the members come forward with doable solutions, Jallan said.
He said the major issues faced by the industry during 2021 were shortages of coal and urea. However, challenges like climate change, low land and labour productivity, demand-supply imbalance, low per capita tea consumption, frequent power cuts and natural gas supply to only 50% factories out of about 800 units also plague the industry.
The total annual requirement of coal for tea factories of Assam is 350,000 metric tonnes and the annual requirement of urea for the tea plantations of Assam across the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys is 113,200 metric tonnes.
"Our Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had recently met the Union Minister for Coal and Mines and discussed about the possibility of more coal mines in Assam," he said.
The NETA chairman also pointed out that at present, the waterways and ports (Chittagong, Mongla) of Bangladesh can only be used for re-entry into India and not for exporting goods.
"We are happy that senior Bangladeshi diplomat, Ambassador Shamsher Chowdhury, responded positively and has assured he will take up the matter with the foreign minister of Bangladesh. We appeal to the government of Assam to take it up with appropriate authorities," Jallan said.