The government of Mamata Banerjee has issued two notifications that will pave the way for the regularization of the majority of 43,000 small tea plantations that were illegally established between 2001 and 2017 on private and government land in north Bengal.

“We are grateful to the prime minister and the government for addressing a longstanding need. Bijoygopal Chakraborty, the president of the Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Associations, stated that the regularisation of small plantations would enable producers to receive assistance and benefits under various central and state programmes (CISTA).

Government regularizes 2001–2017 plantations

Legality of north Bengal's modest tea estates 2023 2

A tiny grower is anyone with tea shrubs on less than 10,12 hectares (25 acres) of land. The minor producers account for approximately 62% of the state’s total tea output. Approximately 15 lakh individuals are directly or indirectly involved in the tiny tea industry.

Approximately 25 years ago, small tea plantations began to proliferate in the districts of North Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, and Cooch Behar. As the majority of these plantations were established on agricultural land, the Left Front government declared that only those established by June 30, 2001 would be lawful.

As the demand for tea increased, however, more tiny plantations began to appear. After the cutoff date, approximately 43,000 tiny tea plantations are unlawfully established on private plots and even unused government land.

“Because all of these plantations were deemed illegal following the notification of 2001, we urged the state government to take action to legalize these gardens.” “Chakraborty reported.

Principal secretary Smaraki Mahapatra issued two notices on April 5.

Legality of north Bengal's modest tea estates 2023 3

A notification states that anyone who established a tea plantation on private land between June 30, 2001 and November 7, 2017 must pay Rs 25,000 per hectare for regularization.

The other notification states that modest tea plantations on government land can be regularized by paying a “salami” of Rs 50,000 per hectare in addition to a department-determined annual rent. In the same manner that the state leases land to tea plantations, these producers will receive a 30-year lease on the land.

The president of the CISTA stated, “Considering the new cut-off date (7 November 2017), we can say that nearly all modest tea plantations will become lawful.””