MSTC wants to auction Assam, Darjeeling tea

Written by Rohit Khanna | ROHIT KHANNA | Kolkata | Updated: Jul 30 2010, 04:41am hrs
Electronic auction mini-ratna PSU MSTC is looking to enter e-auction of Assam and Darjeeling tea. So far the company has been engaged in electronic auction of metal and coal.

The company has recently entered into an arrangement with the Coonoor-based Tea Serve for auctioning Nilgiri tea through electronic platform. In order to eliminate the shortcomings and deficiencies in the existing conventional auction centres, to ensure transparency in sale of tea through auction and to ensure better price to small tea growers, a new Electronic Tea Auction Centre at Coonoor under the cooperative fold called Tea Serve was set up.

With a good response from the e-auction at Coonoor, MSTC plans to take it forward by including Darjeeling and Assam tea.

We will talk to the Tea Board for auctioning Darjeeling and Assam tea, said SK Tripathi, managing director of MSTC. We have been into electronic auction since 1996. So far we have not dealt with tea but we thought it is a good opportunity after we talked to Tea Serve, he added. MSTC provides one of the major virtual marketplaces for domestic sellers and buyers to do business in ferrous and non-ferrous metal scrap, machinery, obsolete spares.

The mini-ratna company conducted the first trial auction for tea on July 14. We conducted the second auction on Wednesday and we are hopeful that it will become popular, Tripathi said. Nilgiri tea worth Rs 2 crore was sold in the first two auctions.

We have been able to sell 40% of the lots through the e-auction platform on Wednesday, he said.

Under the present setup, any buyer can bid from any terminal and does not need to go to the auction house physically. Buyers have unique identification numbers by which they will be able to bid from anywhere.