GJM stir forces out tea research unit

KOLKATA: The unique flavour of India’s best-known export, Darjeeling tea, may now be at risk. The relentless GJM agitation in the Hills has hit

 

research work at the Darjeeling Tea Research and Development Centre (DTRDC) in Kurseong. Concerned at the developments, the Centre has decided to temporarily shift the unit out of the Hills to Siliguri.

Research is essential to sustain the quality of the world famous brew that matches the status of champagne and Scotch as a registered Geographical Indication (GI) product. Just as champagne is indigenous to the Champagne district of France and Scotch to Scotland, so is Darjeeling tea to Darjeeling. It cannot be grown or manufactured anywhere else in the world.

GJM had been asked repeatedly to keep the research centre out of the purview of its agitation programme, but to no avail. “While GJM has allowed the tea gardens to function normally, it has stalled work at the research unit simply because it is a central government organization,” an official with the research centre told TOI from Darjeeling.

This, at a time when DTRDC would have been upgraded to a centre of excellence after being sanctioned Rs 5 crore from the Centre.

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