The All Nagaland Small Tea Grower’s Association (ANSTGA) has clarified on the press release issued by Nagaland Tea Planters’ Association (NTPA) on June 23 regarding the consultative meeting of the association on April 14.
ANSTGA while stating the release has created confusion in the minds of the tea community of Nagaland, also revealed that it has been flooded with enquiries as to why the names of ANSTGA office bearers were not mentioned in the release.
President ANSTGA, D. Hukiye Kibami in this regard clarified that the association was completely independent and in no way connected to NTPA.
He further revealed that the Small Tea Growers (STGs) of Nagaland, before it was formed, looked up to the NTPA for their help and guidance.
However, he said the STGs soon found out the NTPA could not even highlight the plight of STGs of Nagaland to the Tea Board and that it was the NTPA which damaged the cause of the STGs of Nagaland by presenting erroneous statistics on the number of Small Tea Growers.
Not satisfied with the situation, Kibami said the STGs of Nagaland called for a meeting on February 13, 2009 at Tourist Lodge Dimapur and formed the ANSTGA.
Since then, he said the association had been fighting for their cause under the aegis of ANSTGA pursuing the case for revival of suspended subsidy to the growers, with the Tea Board and the ministry of commerce.
Responding to the initiative of the ANSTGA, the Tea Board reviewed the suspension of subsidy and decided to send a survey team to verify the claims for subsidy with the help of GPS, but showed erroneous results since the survey was carried out by inexperienced associates.
Seeing this, Kibami said the ANSTGA had requested the board to re-conduct the survey through the conventional way but claimed the Board went ahead with the partial release of subsidy to 429 STGs. Thus having failed to convince the Board on the veracity of their claims for subsidy, ANSTGA have now filed a petition to Kohima High Court for “natural justice”.