In a bid to cut costs incurred by tea production industries, the Tripura Tea Development Corporation (TTDC) has decided to convert all its coal-based tea factories into green energy-based facilities.
Speaking with The Meghalayan, one of the members of the board of directors of TTDC and chief advisor to Durgabari Tea Estate, Gopal Chakraborty said that by the end of April of 2022 two factories belonging to the TTDC will be converted into natural gas-based production in order cut down the cost and boost production.
He informed that on January 9, 2021, TTDC signed an MoU with the Tripura Natural Gas Corporation Limited (TNGCL), for which the construction work has already been started.
“Construction works including lying of pipes, gas-based woven are underway. The work is going in a full swing. The work is about to conclude and we are expecting that by the end of April, we will start producing tea using natural gas,” Chakraborty said.
The TTDC has adopted this plan as the corporation sometimes faces acute coal crises and soaring prices of coal. The gas-based plant shall not only reduce the manufacturing cost it will also emit near-zero pollutants in the air, he said.
Explaining the cost and production, Chakraborty said, “As per our calculation, to produce one kilogram of tea — (the term used for the finished product we get after processing), a little more than one kg of average coal is required. Now, if the coal is of good quality, that is, nowhere in the market, 800 to 900 grams of coal is burnt. If it is translated into cost of making, the corporation will be able to earn an extra profit of 10 per cent if the plants are completely transformed into gas-based plants.”
Around 13 lakh kg of tea are produced annually in both factories.
The tea industry in Tripura is over 100 years old. Tea cultivation started at Hiracherra Tea Estate in the present Unakoti district in 1916. Initiatives to boost the tea sector started a couple of years ago by designing a logo and branding Tripura tea.
Tripura has 58 operational gardens, of which 42 are privately owned, three are run by TTDC, and 13 are operated under cooperative societies. Most of these tea estates produced orthodox tea till 2000, but moved on to CTC after the 2000.