Chennai, July 13 (BPNS)
The Tamil Nadu Tea Plantation Corporation (TANTEA) which was cultivating tea in an area of 10,000 acres has cut short its cultivation to half following the acute financial crisis.
Senior officials of the TANTEA told BPNS that the organization was reeling under financial crisis and the only possibility of saving the organization is to reduce its plantation area to half. The overheads and other expenses can be brought down if the plantation is cut short to half, the officials said.
The TANTEA which was formed in 1968 by the then Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi to repatriate the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, is now in acute crisis and had made a profit only thrice in the past fifteen years. An official with the corporation told BPNS that it made Rs 30 crore in profits in 1997-98, made Rs 35 crore profit in 1998-99 and Rs 7 crore profit in 2020-21. According to officials, the accumulated loss of the corporation is around Rs 240 crores.
The workers of the TANTEA and the unions are stiffly opposed to the reduction of cultivation area and around 4500 workers have demanded the management to revert the decision and cultivate tea in the total cultivable area. It may be noted that the TNETA has land spread across Coonoor, Gudalur, Kotagiri, and Valparai.
In a recent order, the management terminated the services of 500 temporary tea pluckers from its Gudalur plantation. This brought in the open the fact that TANTEA is in an acute financial crisis.
Officials in TANTEA told BPNS that it may take six months to one year for the company to be back on track and has asked for 29 crore assistance from the state government.
The Tea Corporation is also planning to employ a worker per acre and to increase the production to 6000 kg of tea leaves per year. With one of the most prestigious companies in Tamil Nadu facing an acute financial crisis, state government sources told BPNS that the government has to take a decision to bail out the company.