Tea buyers to boycott sale over service levy

Kolkata, April 29 | Updated: Apr 30 2006, 06:43am hrs
Tea buyers at the Kolkata, Guwahati and Siliguri auction centres have decided not to take part in the auction Sale No 18 scheduled on May 2-3, to protest the Union commerce ministrys proposal to change the basis of calculating the buying brokerage.

At present, brokers in north Indian auction centres collect a volume-based buying brokerage at the rate of five paise per kg. On April 6, the Tea Bo- ard proposed tea buyers pay a service charge of 0.3% per kg. In the new system, the service charge would be 30 paise per Rs 100. The chairman of the Tea Auction Buyers Asso- ciation, Calcutta, Gopal Pod- dar, told FE that buyers would stay away until the government withdraws its decision.

Until the government withdraws its decision and calls us for discussions, buyers in the three auction centres in North India shall keep away from the auction process, Mr Poddar said. The new service charge would hurt high-value exportable varieties like Darjeeling and orthodox and also quality Assam CTC teas.