Around 2 lakh kg of tea from two tea manufacturers in the Nilgiris has been destroyed for being adulterated, reported the Times of India. ToI reported that the tea came from Jayalakshmi Tea Industry and SR Tea Industry.
A raid was conducted at the premises of the industries in December when the Board first received complaints of adulteration.
A Tea Board official confirmed to ToI that the tea was adulterated using a colouring agent. Both industries, part of the Coonoor Tea Traders Association also had their licences cancelled.
In an environmentally conscious move, the officials prepared the tea for natural decay and use as manure instead of burning it altogether.
In September last year, planters in the valley urged authorities to take strict action against errant manufacturers. According to The Hindu Business Line, Mohamed Iqbal, Chairman, Nilgiri Plantersâ€™ Association (NPA) said, â€śSome unscrupulous retailers are selling packet teas in the market without conforming to law. This is a serious challenge faced by the industry in marketing quality teas. It is common to see Nilgiris adulterated teas being sold at various picnic spots in the district to unwary tourists.â€ť
Ten years ago in 2008, another major raid took place in Dodabetta that led to the destruction of 26,000 kg of tea. According The Hindu, the tea was supplied to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia and the colour of the tea was altered according to the colours preferred in these countries. Close to 6,000 kg of tea marked for sale was also seized.
Speaking to the newspaper at the time, the officials had said that this was an adulteration on a scale that the country hadnâ€™t seen before. The employees of the company were shifted to other industries in the area.