In an ordinance the state government amended Assam Fixation of ceiling on Land holding Act 1956.
According to the ordinance “Provided that in cases where tea plantation is not possible in land allowed to be retained by the tea gardens and lying as fallow and unused, such land and inheritances or any part thereof may be used for the following purposes, promotion of eco-friendly tea tourism; cultivation of agricultural crops which include cash crops, horticultural crops, floriculture, medicinal plants, agar wood, sandal wood and bamboo; animal husbandry and fisheries; green power and non-conventional energy resources; social infrastructure and services which include wellness centers, schools, colleges, universities, medical, nursing, paramedical institutions, cultural and recreational exhibition centers and government offices that could be set up by Tea Garden Authority or a government entity, food processing, blending and packaging units.”
It further stated, “Provided further that lands meant for the aforementioned purposes shall not exceed 5% of the total garden area.”
“It was our long pending appeal. We welcome this move by the State Government. It will help in better economic viability of tea gardens.”, said Bidyananda Barkakoty, Adviser,
Tea Association (NETA).
Assam has more than 10 lakh tea workers in the organized sector, working in about 850 big estates. The state produces roughly 55% of India’s tea.