After Dooars and Darjeeling,new areas in Bengal to produce tea

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Kolkata: Quality Indian tea will no more be limited to the likes of Assam and Darjeeling as IIT is helping new areas in Kharagpur and Purulia to produce scientifically- grown and processed tea.  At a small tea garden inside the campus, IIT-Kharagpur researchers have demonstrated how organic tea could be grown scientifically even in the plains and then the leaves processed in a cheaper way with their newly patented energy-saving machine.

In the vicinity of the campus, the Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park (STEP) at the IIT, has identified 17 villages where commercial tea cultivation would soon begin.

“Tea cultivation will begin in non-traditional areas of south Bengal using new scientific methods. We are targeting small farmers with 5-10 cottah of fallow land. This will uplift the rural economy as well,” STEP’s Managing Director and Biotechnologist Satyahari Dey told PTI.

Under a project funded by the Tea Board, a team of scientists led by Professor Bijoy Chandra Ghosh of the Agricultural and Food Engineering Department has developed new CTC (crush, tear and curl) machines, which occupy less space and consume less energy.

“The existing technology used everywhere in India and even outside, is a century old. Our technology is very innovative and patented. It will reduce the cost of tea processing by about 20-30 per cent,” Ghosh said.

They have already demonstrated the technology to small tea growers who were welcoming it.

“We are confident that this machine will change the tea industry forever due to cost savings,” Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Association (CISTA) President Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty said.