The Assam tea industry on
Tuesday sought exemption of gardens from the lockdown announced by the state government to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations' Assam Valley branch convenor Abhijit Sharma said that necessary plant protection measures through spraying of pest repellents to tea bushes and irrigation are essential.
In the absence of such measures, there will be permanent damage to the tea bushes, which will aggravate losses of production and productivity, Sharma, who is also secretary of Assam Branch of Indian Tea Association, said.
"We, therefore, would like to make a humble submission to allow the tea gardens to undertake spraying and irrigation operations in the tea sections and the concerned executives, staff and workers to work in such operations during the period of closure as announced," Sharma said in a letter to the principal secretary of the labour welfare department.
The state government had announced that Assam will be under lockdown from 6 pm on Tuesday till March 31 in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In view of scanty rainfall at present, it is also required to continue irrigation in the tea gardens, Sharma said.
The Tea Research Association (TRA), in a separate letter, has also said that the essential plant protection measures are necessary for the productivity of tea gardens.
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