Buyers warn GTAC of not taking delivery
Business at Guwahati Tea Auction Centre, the largest CTC auction centre, is likely to be hit if the concerns of tea buyers in proper packing of tea is not adhered to. This will ultimately force them to buy directly from the gardens in huge quantities.
“The Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers’ Association is trying its best to promote GTAC. But if the constituents (brokers and warehouses) do not adhere to the rules, then we may have a major problem on our hands and very soon the auction centre may suffer in terms of business,” Dinesh Bihani, secretary, Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers’ Association, said.
The buyers’ association has appealed to all the constituents to take steps to regain buyers’ confidence.
Sources said several tea buyers had complained of delivery of badly packed tea bags. The agents for Gujarat Tea Processors and Packers Limited, Ahmedabad, which makes Wagh Bakri tea, namely Pioji Tea Limited, Kesaria and Co, D. Dayalbhai and Co. and Global Tea (Assam) Pvt Ltd, have informed the GTAC that a large number of tea bags had been delivered to their buyers in restitched condition, taped, tampered with and having ineligible markings.
“This has sent out a very bad impression to the buyer who has clearly instructed us not to take delivery of bags which are in poor condition. We would like to inform GTAC and its constituents that from immediate effect we shall not take delivery of paper sacks and bags that are taped, restitched, damaged or remarked,” one of the agents stated said in a letter dated December 28.
Similar concerns have been addressed by Tata Global Beverages Limited and others.
J. Thomas, one of the largest tea auctioneers, in a note stated that packaging plays a vital role in marketing of teas and it is worthwhile to give it a careful look.
“Proper packaging not only protects your teas in transit, but is an important tool in brand building,” the note says.
Sources said tea buyers make payments before lifting the teas and at the time of delivery often find tea packaging not adhering to GTAC guidelines.
“We are left with no alternative other than stop buying teas of such marks/gardens,” a tea buyer said.
Another buyer said, “We are caught in a trap. We cannot stop buying but we can be selective in our approach. If the situation does not improve, we will buy directly from the gardens. Some packeteers are doing it.”
The GTAC has convened a meeting on Monday to address buyers’ concerns.
“The concerns are valid,” GTAC secretary Jayanta Kakati said, adding that the Tea Board of India had been informed of the problem. He said some of the bags were over-packed and it was time that best packing norms were followed.
Assam industries minister Pradyut Bordoloi, who is also the chairman of GTAC, has of late been taking steps to improve the functioning of the auction centre to restore its brand equity.