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Re-plantation in Kerala, TN to begin in Jan

Newswire18  |  Kochi 

Re-plantation of tea estates in Kerala and Tamil Nadu under the special purpose fund for tea floated by the commerce ministry will begin on January 12, Minister of State for Industry and Commerce Jairam Ramesh told reporters on Friday.
The scheme will be launched in Coimbatore on January 12 in the presence of 30 applicants who came forward to undertake the re-plantation activity, he said.
Special purpose tea fund of Rs 4,760 crore aims to replant 40-year old tea bushes in the country over a period of 15 years.
Under the scheme, 25 per cent of the cost will be borne by central government as subsidy, 50 per cent will be raised from banks, and the rest will be borne by estate owners.
The scheme, implemented under supervision and control of Tea Board of India, has already been implemented in West Bengal and Assam.
Tea estates in south India are expected to receive nearly Rs 1,012 crore out of the total package of Rs 4,760 crore.
South India accounted for roughly 25 per cent of India's total tea output of 950 million kg in 2006 (Jan-Dec).
The minister said central government would consider taking over closed tea estates in West Bengal, Kerala and Assam invoking provisions of Tea Act, 1953 after getting the report from a committee appointed to examine this issue.
Out of 23 closed tea estates, 13 are in West Bengal, 8 in Kerala and 2 in Assam.
The committee is expected to submit its report on December 12, the minister said.

First Published: Mon, December 10 2007. 00:00 IST