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Tea forum chiefs to seek PM's help in declaring tea as national drink

With Union ministry turning down the demand for declaring tea the national drink, tea associations will seek PM's intervention.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: May 18, 2012, 03.04 AM IST
GUWAHATI: With the Union commerce ministry turning down the demand for declaring tea the national drink, tea associations will seek Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention in this regard.

Minister of State for Commerce Jyotiraditya Scindia told the Rajya Sabha that a proposal to declare tea the national drink was examined during 2006 but was not pursued further because objections were raised by a few state governments. It was felt that coffee is a competing beverage and declaring one a national drink will likely be at the cost of the other.

A joint forum of Assam Tea Planters' Association, North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) and Bharatiya Chah Parishad have argued that declaring tea as the national drink can in no way be at the cost of coffee.

NETA chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty said that 83% of households in India consume tea as per the ORG India Tea Consumption Study 2008. He said the yearly coffee production in India is at 302 million kg whereas tea production is at 988 million kg.

The annual coffee consumption in India is at 108 million kg whereas tea consumption is at 815 million kg. The per capita consumption of coffee in India is 75 gram whereas per capita consumption of tea is 730 gram.

He added that Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the main coffee growing regions and 70% coffee is grown in Karnataka alone.

But tea is grown across India. Even the tea industry in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Badu is in no way smaller in size than the coffee industry. Nearly 60% of Indian exports of tea are from Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

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