honouring tocklai

Centenary honour for tea gurus

- Tocklai research centre to institute chairs to mark 100 years of existence


Tocklai Tea Research Station

Guwahati, March 11: When the Tea Research Association, Tocklai — the world’s oldest tea research station based at Jorhat — turns hundred, it will be time not only to look ahead but also in the past to honour those who gave the institute its global status.

The association has decided to institute centenary chairs after scientists who contributed to the tea research station and they will be named after William White, E.A.H. Roberts and K.C. Sarma.

While White did extensive work on tea germ plasm and plant improvement, Roberts was an authority on tea quality. Sarma, on the other hand, was the first to bring out a tea pest monograph.

“The aim of instituting the chairs is to get the best people in their respective fields to Tocklai for promoting research. It can be from anywhere and we are open to foreign scientists as well,” Joydeep Phukan, secretary of the association, said.

The Tocklai experimental station was started in 1911 in Jorhat. The yearlong centenary celebrations of Tea Research Association, Tocklai, will begin by showcasing its achievements at the 19th session of Food and Agriculture Organisation of UN Intergovernmental Group on Tea — the highest international platform on tea.

The session, to be attended by 120 delegates from around the world, will meet on May 12-14. “Though we have been highlighting our achievements at the national level quite often, this is the first time when we will be showcasing our achievements in the last century on a global stage,” Phukan said.

The tea association, as part of its centenary celebrations, will also hold a two-day conference christened Infini-tea in New Delhi on May 10-11 in association with the Tea Board of India.

“All of us love tea as a beverage in some form or the other. We have been enjoying tea for many decades now and would like our future generations to enjoy the magic of tea, too. Therefore, it is very important for us to share our wisdom at the Infini-tea Tocklai Tea Centenary Conference 2010 being organised on the historic occasion of the centenary of Tocklai Experimental Station,” C.S. Bedi, chairman of the tea association, said.

The other events planned are inauguration of the centenary central laboratory and auditorium at Tocklai in October.

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