Darjeeling tea gardens reel under bandh effect

The famous Darjeeling brew is turning bitter as the record 104-day shutdown in the north Bengal hills have dealt a blow to the tea gardens where at least 40% of its workers have migrated to other regions in search of livelihood. The indefinite shutdown that was called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on June 15 after a police raid on its office in Patlaybas near Darjeeling was called off from September 27. The gardens in the hills have reported a cumulative revenue loss of about Rs. 350 crores. “In 2016, about 8.5 million tea was produced in the Darjeeling hills. This year we expect to get hardly 30% of that quantity,” said Binod Mohan, chairman of Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA). Incidentally, Darjeeling tea is the first GI product from India and is the flag-bearer of the Indian tea industry.