Assam Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary on Friday said a geographical indication (GI) tag would have helped "save" the state's ailing tea industry.
Opposition Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi raised the issue of the tea industry in the assembly, stating that GST and high fuel prices were some of the deterrents to its economic progress.
"Despite noticing these shortcomings, there is no sincerity of the state government to revive the tea industry," Kurmi alleged.
In reply, Patowary said there are two lakh small tea growers in Assam, but they are not getting the just price for their produce.
"Our tea has not been able to compete with the new varieties of tea... The big tea leaf sellers blend our tea with other teas and then brand them to sell as theirs, because we do not have GI (tag) for Assam Tea," Patowary said.
"If we had GI, it would have saved the state's tea industry. Our government has taken it up so that Assam Tea cannot be used and branded without our permission," the minister added.
A meeting will be held with all MLAs cutting across party lines for finding ways to uplift the industry, Patowary said.
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