Second Tea Tourism Festival begins in Darjeeling

Darjeeling (West Bengal), Dec. 21 (ANI): The Gorkhaland Territorial Authority (GTA) in Darjeeling, West Bengal, has organised a 17 day-long tea tourism festival, with an aim to boost tourism in the state.

The spotlight was on the tea gardens around the hill station of Darjeeling.

The president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), Bimal Gurung, said: "Earlier, the region was facing lot of disturbances but now the tea industry has improved and the quality of tea has also improved. Now, we are trying to promote development in the region and increase the sale of tea, so this was the aim of organizing the tea tourism festival."

The programmes at the festival included a cultural show, a dance programme where one could see a cornucopia of tribal and other dances. Beside these are stalls where tourists can sample different qualities of tea from various gardens.

The Principal Secretary of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), Saumitra Mohan, said: "We are receiving good response. This festival was started last year to promote Darjeeling and tourism. This year also the festival is being organised, which indicates that we are continuing with the success that we received last year. The festival is organised to promote the culture, environment and the beauty of Darjeeling and to boost the tourism in the region. We have been quite successful with our aim."

The festival, which began on December 20, will end on January 5, 2013.

India is one of the major producers and exporters of tea in the world market.

India's tea production rose for the first time in nine months in June to 122.2 million kilograms, up 6.5 percent from a year earlier, as plucking improved in northeastern and southern parts of the country, the state-run Tea Board informed in a statement.

However, the country's tea production in the first six months of 2012 fell 5.7 percent on year to 338 million kilograms as unfavourable weather in the top-producing northeastern state of Assam state hampered plucking earlier this year.

The world's second biggest tea producer exports the CTC (crush, tear, curl) tea variety mainly to Egypt, Pakistan and the United Kingdom, and the premium orthodox variety to Iraq, Iran and Russia.

India's tea production in 2011 rose to a record high of 988.3 million kilograms. (ANI)