APPL Sees Results After Efforts
The Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited, a tea major, on Friday said efforts made in the previous years on various fronts have started delivering results.
Speaking at the 11th annual general meeting (2017-18) of the company in Calcutta, APPL chairman Ranjit Barthakur said there has been progress in most of the key focus areas like quality improvement of plantations and manufactured products in line with consumers' expectations.
He said the company has also met with success in business partnership with small tea growers, supply of material, cost optimisation through increased mechanisation, augmentation of plantation through cultivation of pepper (the crop has almost trebled in the last five years), direct consumer contact through retailing and revenue enhancement through expansion of other agro businesses. The company has 25 gardens and a workforce of 31,000 in Assam and Bengal.
A senior official said the quantum of losses has decreased. "Efforts made in the last couple of years have started showing results," he added.
Barthakur said the company continues to take advantage of the buoyant orthodox market through increased production, one of the highest in the country. He said the steps taken for bush renewal and health are expected to yield results in future.
He said the average price realisation on its CTC teas improved by 6.77 per cent, beating the industry and proving that quality improvement initiatives are finally delivering. "Success has mainly come from the initiatives reinforced on modern field practices and skill development through selective mechanisation," he added.
Assam PCC has demanded a proper policy for sale of tea gardens in the state.
PCC vice-presidents Bhagirath Karan and Bolin Bordoloi said in a statement on Friday that all tea garden land belongs to the state and were leased out for cultivation. Hence, there cannot be transfer of ownership or sale as witnessed recently.
Twelve gardens of McLeod Russel in Upper Assam were sold to two companies, M.K. Shah Exports and Luxmi Tea, for Rs 472 crore this month. Assam Company gardens are also under the hammer
The Congress said McLeod Russel, which produces 10.5 million kg of tea, has been making profits and the sudden decision to sell the gardens raises a question mark on its intent. "No proper decision has been communicated to the state regarding this," it added.
The Congress alleged no provisions were made by McLeod Russel on the fate of the employees after transfer of ownership. It alleged after the Assam Company became bankrupt, labourers were deprived of basic facilities.