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bjaypee
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Joined: 01 Aug 2001
Posts: 198

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:30 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Badagas have been associated with the plantation crop TEA in a big way in the Nilgiris, ever since it was introduced in India by the British. Some pioneers like Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder planted tea in a large area of his land holding [at one time he owned about a thousand acres of land in the Nilgiri Hills].

From traditional crops like potatos, Badagas took to tea in a big way. They planted, protected and preserved their ‘thotta’ [estates], be it a small holding of one or two acres or slightly bigger ones of ten / twenty acres, with their sweat and blood.

Whenever two Badagas met from different areas, one of the ‘greetings’ would invariably be, ‘ Ele (soppu) bele ella ethe? - how about the prices of tea? ‘ Since most of them were and still are ‘green leaf’ suppliers that is to say, they would pluck the green leaves from their gardens/estates and sell them to tea factories on a price per kilo determined by the latter. The people from Kotagiri area were real hardworkers and took special care of their crops.

The tea factory owners, in turn, would fix the price of green leaf tea based on how much price they would get when they sold their made tea [ready to drink] in the ‘AUCTION Centres’ in Coonoor, generaly through BROKERS. This is where the problem started. As long as the made tea was sold at a decent price, the factory owners gave a good or ‘comfortable’ price to the green leaf suppliers who formed a majority.

But, the brokers, sensing the great weakness of BADAGAS for all the ‘Ws’ and their extra vagance in spending money without the thought of saving, started lending money to the factory owners under one pretext or other. Thus the gullible came under their stranglehold and had no choice but to sell the made tea to only these brokers from whom they had borrowed money.

They had to meekly accept whatever price was offered by these unscruplous traders who formed ‘CARTELS’. Since, most of the small tea factory owners could not stock their produce or demand a better price, they had no choice but to either offer a much lower price to the green leaf suppliers or pack up and close their factories.

Since tea, atleast in the earlier days, took about five years to become a fully developed crop and is considered as perenial, destroying and switch over to other vegetable crops was nor an option due to a variety of reasons. At the same time, tea being a plantation crop and needs to be plucked after every fortnight or so, could not be left to become ‘mudhi’. Low prices means no incentive.

The economy of Badagas depend on tea prices to a great extent. And, hence, the small growers are caught between the devil and the deep sea.

The ‘brokers cartel’ attributed the low prices to the ’quality’ of made tea produced. Though to some extent it was true that a few factory owners indulged in ‘adultration’ etc, a large number of them were and are still caught in the vice grip of the brokers.

This is where, the initiative [described below] taken by young social activists and concerned citizens like Mrs. Anitha Gokul, wife of DFO of Haveri [Karnataka] Mr.Gokul, needs everybody’s immediate attention and action.


Will we wake up?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mrs.Anitha Gokul has put the ills that are affecting the 'TEA FRONT' in a very clear and elobarate way [ given below] in the forum under 'Nilgiri Issues'.

I feel it needs our urgent attention and action. And hence I am reproducing it under Badaga Community should it escape the readers' attention.

The 'brokers cartel' with some gullible bought tea factory owners have ruined a generation now.

Your views require the immediate attention of all those 'small' tea growers - especialy Badagas whose lives have been very closely linked to tea and tea prices.

It is high time, we TAKE SOME ACTION AT ONCE !!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Anitha Gokul writes


Dear members,

I am opening up an old issue of tea price vis-a vis the official apathy of the Tea Board of India for allowing tea prices to be quoted at low prices artificially due to the unholy nexus between the tea brokers and the Tea Board officials; nexus between the tea brokers and the tea buyers; thereby inflicting pain and hardship to lakhs of tea growers and tea manufacturers. So please spare a few moments to read the following for the cause of our people.

We all accept that the tea price is affecting the livelihood of the people of Nilgiris and Badagas in particular. We have been channeling our energy against the Government of TamilNadu and were happy if the State Government gave us a paltry sum in the name of subsidy. It is high time we think beyond such short-term measures and analyze the real cause of low tea price.

Lakhs of tea growers are dependent upon about 170 tea factories in Nilgiris. The tea manufactured in the factories is being sold through only 7 or 8 tea brokerage firms. Numerous buyers purchase the tea, which are distributed within India and are also exported. Thus one could see that the tea brokers hold the key to the tea industry.

The retail price of tea is in the range from Rs120- 200/kg or more. The auction price of tea at Coonoor is below Rs.50/kg. So what has happened to the remaining hundred Rupees? This is because of the nexus between buyers and tea brokers.

Almost all the tea factories have borrowed few lakhs of Rupees from the tea brokers to start the factory without understanding the consequences of the exorbitant interest charged. The compounded interest charged is about 36% per annum. Thus tea factories have been forced into a debt trap and have become mute spectators as the tea brokers decide the price of tea. About 100 factories are shut down in Nilgiris as they are not able to withstand the high interest rate.

The tea growers are the real sufferers in this whole process as they depend upon the factories for tealeaf rate. Since tea factories get less value for the tea sold, they are forced to reduce the rate of tealeaf. Thus about 8 tea brokers through a hundred and odd factories are exploiting lakhs of tea growers.

Thus the crux of the issue of low tea price lies in the fact that tea factories are in a debt trap of the tea brokers.

The Tea Board of India is the licensing authority for the tea brokers. As per the licensing norms, no tea broker is supposed to lend money to any tea manufacturer. In violation of this, the tea brokers have been charging exorbitant interest from the tea factories. The Tea Board officials have been showing a blind eye to this social evil, which needs to be questioned by each one of us. Unless this violation is set right, the price of tea is not going to improve.

The important tool available with each one of us to make the Tea Board officials take action against the tea brokers is the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Some questions that could be asked are:

1) Are tea brokers entitled to lend money to tea manufacturers? If yes, under which norm/rule/act. Please furnish a copy of the same.
2) Are tea brokers lending money to tea manufacturers?
3) Is Tea Board aware that tea brokers are lending money to tea manufacturers at exorbitant rate of interest?
4) If tea brokers are not entitled to lend money to tea manufacturers, what is the action taken by Tea Board against tea brokers.
5) If the Tea Board officials against the tea brokers do not take action, please furnish the names of the erring Tea Board officials.
6) What action has been taken against the erring Tea Board officials?

By seeking information under RTI, we can activate the whole Government machinery, as they are supposed to furnish information within 30 days from the date of application. Many applications should be sent to Tea Board so that the issue will not die and we can accomplish many things, which we cannot achieve through courts, etc.

My only wish is that there should be more discussion on this subject so as to take it to a logical end, as I believe that as learned members of our community we can achieve justice. A lot of things have been happening in the scene where the Central Bureau of Investigation, National Human Rights Commission, Chief Vigilance Commissioner have been alerted, which will be elaborated during our course of discussion.


also see :- http://badaga.wordpress.com/tea-tea-prices/

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Wg Cdr JP - http://www.badaga.wordpress.com , http://www.baduga.in , www.badaga.name

Last edited by bjaypee on Sat May 31, 2008 3:01 am; edited 4 times in total
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l_santhosh
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:30 am Reply with quoteBack to top

JP uncle's and Ms. Anitha Gokul's explanation make the issue fairly clear.
Just to sum up the main points...
There are four levels

Tea growers ----> Factories ----> Brokers ----> Tea Board.

Tea growers: the common man. We grow tea and sell it to the factories.

Factories: Factory people buy tea from tea growers, sell it to the brokers. This selling happens through auction centres.

Brokers: They buy tea from factories. They do this by quoting the highest price(through auction) for a particular brand of tea.

Tea Board: should come under the Ministry of agriculture, Gov. of India. This board will determine who the brokers are.

Problem: Price of tea is unsustainably low(which is well known).

From what Ms. Anitha has said, the problem started when some people received money(as debt or kadan) from brokers to build factories and thereby become factory owners.
The debt came with a heavy interest rate.
The interest rate was so high that they could not repay the debt.
And because of that they were forced(because they were under the mercy of the brokers) to sell their tea(which they bought from tea growers) at cheap prices.
This led to the price of tea spiralling downwards.

My questions:
Is it true that "Almost all the tea factories" bought kadan?...which I think is the main reason for this state.
Was the interest rate 36% or really that high? Can anyone imagine a 36% compound interest rate?
Rs. 100 becomes 136 after one year. 136 becomes 184.96. 184.96 becomes 251.54. It is just unbelievable.
Can anyone be so gullible enough to get kadan at that rate?
Are we sure that this is happening/ has happened?

Also, West Bengal, Orissa and some north-eastern states besides parts of South India(including Kerala) grow tea. How are the prices of tea in these areas? This is an important question!! as it could give a solid indication of what's going on.

I think it is also important to know if there is any other reason for this problem apart from what you've said and the quality issue.
I think quality is not an issue that could pull the price so low. Our tea is much better than many other brands of tea. I say this because when I've given our factory tea as gifts to some of my colleagues, their response has always been very good. They want more of the same tea.

So, I think there are three points we could possibly target:
1. Tea board - Broker nexus.
2. Broker - broker "understanding".
3. Factory owners with huge debts towards brokers.

It's well known that corruption thrives in our country. So it's not difficult to believe that the rot begins at the top of the system - perhaps at the Ministerial level.

And as rightly said, we could achieve a lot by making use of the RTI.
But how do we use it?
Where does one apply for it?
What is the process?
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bjaypee
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:54 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi Santhosh,

Ms. Anita Gokul has given an elobarate procedure and how to go about RTI here

in Forum Main>under Nilgiris Issues>RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005 FOR BETTER TEA PRICING


Pl go through it as well as visit Badagas of the Blue Mountains where the same is repeated

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anithagkl
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:51 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hai Santhosh,
I would like to elaborate on the process of tea manufacture and its subsequent trade by private factories through brokers.
1. Tealeaf growers: The farmers harvest tealeaves and sell it to either leaf agents or directly to tea factories. The leaf agents in turn sell it to factories. The factories give interest free advance to the growers.
2. Private Tea factories: They convert the leaves into ‘made tea’. Different grades of tea are produced such as Pekoe, Orange Pekoe (OP), Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP), Dust grade, etc. Approximately 4kg of tealeaves yield one kg of ‘made tea’ of all grades. The ‘made tea’ is sold in the ‘auction center’ through the tea brokers.
3. Buyers of ‘made tea’: The buyers buy the tea on the auction days held on Thursdays and Fridays. The buyers then blend different teas and sell it in the retail market.

On the face of it, the process seems to be foolproof and simple. However, I would like to explain the role of brokers in detail for more clarity. As told earlier, the factory owners dispatch the lorry containing ‘made tea’ to be sold in the auction center to the broker. The broker takes a sample of 5kgs each randomly from all the grades of ‘made tea’. Then the tea is taken to ‘Ware Houses’ where it is weighed and stored. Based on the receipt from the warehouse, advances are given by the brokers to the factory owners. The advances are generally 75% of the value of the tea that had been sold during the previous sale. For example, if the tea had sold for Rs.40/kg during the previous sale, then the broker would advance Rs.30/kg. This advance is charged at the rate of 18% compound interest every week.

The broker uses the samples for cup tasting to determine the quality of tea based on color, flavor, liquor, harshness, etc. The ‘made teas’ delivered to the brokers till every Monday is catalogued for sale during the ensuing Thursday and Friday. Brokers also send samples to buyers for attracting more bidders for the tea. The teas are then auctioned in the auction hall at Coonoor. The successful buyers are given a time of 10 days from the day of auction to pay the bid amount to the brokers. Once the brokers receive the money, they need to make the remaining 25% payment, which is called ‘prompt’ to the factories. Thus the time taken from the date of dispatch from the factory till the final payment (prompt) is made is about 15 to 21 days. The factories pay warehouse charges for these 21 days.
Based on the average rates obtained in the auctions during the previous month for the ‘made tea’, the factories fix the rate for the tealeaves supplied by the growers during the previous month. Thus, while factories give interest free advance to the growers, they obtain advance at 18% compound interest per week from the brokers. For the lump-sum credit that the factories have taken from the brokers, they are charged at the rate of 24% compound interest per month. On the whole, it works out to approximately 36% compound interest per year. No business can yield 40% profit. Thus the tea factories have fallen into the debt trap of brokers. The running statement of accounts always would show that factories owe brokers lakhs of Rupees. Because of this, the factories are not able to assert to the brokers that their tea should be sold at higher prices. Thus the brokers have squeezed thousands of growers indirectly through a hundred odd factories.

The Chairman, Tea Board of India is the licensing authority for tea brokers. Clause 21 of the norms for licensing of brokers in public tea auctions is reproduced below:
" Any Company which is carrying on business as licensed tea brokers will not lend money to any tea producing Company or tea estate, but they may make advance payments against tea for sale in the relevant Auction center and/or against sold tea awaiting payment of Prompt".

It is noteworthy to mention that the actual simple interest charged per annum when an interest of 24% p.a compounded every week is charged for a sum of Rs 1 lac for a period of six years works out to an average 53.17% p.a simple interest.

At the end of the 1st year, the interest charged on Rs 1 lac @ 24% p.a compounded every week would be 27% p.a simple interest on Rs 1 lac, thus amounting to Rs 1.27 lacs;

at the end of the 2nd year, the interest would be charged for Rs 1.27 lacs onwards, and therefore the interest would be 34.25% p.a simple interest on Rs 1 lac, thus amounting to Rs. 1.61 lacs;
at the end of the 3rd year, the interest would be charged for Rs 1.61 lacs onwards, and therefore the interest would be 43.5% p.a simple interest on Rs 1 lac, thus amounting to Rs. 2.05 lacs;

at the end of the 4th year the interest would be charged for Rs 2.05 lacs onwards, and therefore the interest would be 55% p.a simple interest on Rs 1 lac, thus amounting to Rs 2.60 lacs;

at the end of the 5th year the interest would be charged for Rs 2.60 lacs onwards, and therefore the interest would be 70% p.a simple interest on Rs 1 lac, thus amounting to Rs 3.30 lacs ;

at the end of the 6th year the interest would be charged for Rs 3.30 lacs onwards, and therefore the interest would be 89% p.a simple interest on Rs 1 lac, thus amounting to Rs 4.19 lacs !!!

Ideally, the brokers need to sell tea at higher rates so as to earn more in the form of commission. But rather than selling tea at higher rates they resort to distress sale with an objective of keeping the factories always in debt so that exorbitant interest can be charged for the advance given. For example, if a commission of only about Rs1.0 lac @ 1% of the value of tea sold only could be earned by the broker for selling tea of a factory having a value of about Rs.1.0 crore, an amount of about Rs. 20 lacs could be charged as interest @ 18%, 24% p.a compounded every week/month.
For violation of the license norms, the Tea Board of India is empowered to cancel the license issued to the brokers. Clause 5 of the license norms is reproduced below:
" Where a license has been issued to any Company under these norms and such Company acts in violation of these norms, the appropriate authority may cancel or suspend such license for any period of time”.
About 100 tea factories have been shut down in Nilgiris as on date due to the unfair trade practices enforced on these factories; the factories have become bonded labourers; but the regulatory authority namely the Tea Board of India has been showing blind eyes and deaf ears to this societal evil.
Thus we need to expose this broad day light robbery and get justice for lakhs of growers and their dependants.
There are lots more to discuss regarding the rates of tea in the other states.
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deva_mathan
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Ms/Mrs AnithaGkl,

It is eye opening to read your posting in this badaga pages. I must also thank BeJayPe - the Wg Cmdr for his elaboration on your posting earlier.

To me, who knew trade practices on the surface of it, your posting had given me some more insight. Accept my thanks.

The tea board officials at Nilgiris have been hoodwinking the guilible badagas and the poorly knowledged factory owners ..[ some are inherited and some are business interested ]. This is clear indication of joining hands by the hawking tea brokers and Tea Board officials and the cunning politicians, enjoying the fruit, at the expenses of Badaga's livelyhood.

I suggest like minded people.- like you, The DFO at Bangalore, BeJaypee, me and who so ever is willing according to the time of convenience organize mass movement at Hatty level & then Seemai Level to highlight these lessons in your posting to fellow Badagas and the plight thro all government officials starting from the Collector -- Local Minister-- MP upto Delhi regulary. -- I opine, an one year sustained effort should yield a result that should be use ful to next generation of Badagas atleast.

I am optimistic this move will yield result over a period of an year. I think many more would like to join .. I am available at 94861 75360. at Chennai.

Cheers !

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anithagkl
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:52 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Yes Shri.Deva_Mathan, we have to do something about all this. We have to garner support from alot of people to do the ground work first. We have to reach out to everyone in the hatties. Sadly many are ignorant or unaware about the state of affairs. Thats why I thought we should first make the younger generation aware of the situation so that many will come forward to help.Thanks alot for giving support. I have started another discussion on the same topic in the orkut badaga community forum as more members frequent that site.We have to get together to work out a stratergy.Maybe printing pamplets will help or something better. Please give your ideas.

I would like to discuss yet another issue drawing parlance between SEBI and The Tea Board of India.

Many of our members are interested in the stock market. I realized it while reading another topic in this forum. I would like to draw a parlance between the Tea Board of India and The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Both these institutions are regulatory bodies like many other regulatory bodies like TRAI, etc constituted to protect the interest of all the stakeholders.
-While SEBI regulates the trade of shares, etc., and is supposed to protect the interest of crores of shareholders and their dependants in this country, Tea Board of India regulates the trade of tea and is supposed to protect the interests of lakhs of tea growers/farmers and their dependants and hundreds of tea manufacturing industries.
-The stock exchanges i.e., BSE, NSE, etc can be compared to the Tea auction centers in this country.
-The tea broker firms can be compared to stock broker firms. Both of them function on commission basis only. Their respective regulatory bodies license both.
While stockbroker firms do not advance money against the securities given to them for sale as per the license norms, tea broker firms have been advancing several sums at exorbitant compound interest rates for the made tea delivered, in complete violation of the prevailing laws. The Tea Board of India has shown a blind eye to this grave violation, which is affecting the very survival of the tea industry.
There is a hue and cry when the stockbrokers violate SEBI guidelines, as millions of shareholders are affected directly. However, gross violations by tea brokers is going unnoticed because of the fact that the brokers operate through only a hundred odd factories and not directly with farmers.
Having invested huge sums of money for constructing and operating their tea factory using borrowed loans from banks/financial institutions, tea factories have not been able to raise their voice against this grave injustice for the threat of not being able to manufacture and sell tea. Rather to tide over the interest burden, tea industries resort to malpractices in terms of weighment of tealeaf, etc, thereby affecting our tea growers only.
While there are instances of crackdown by SEBI on fraudulent stockbrokers like Harshad Mehta, Ketan Parekh, etc, there are no instances of the Tea Board of India having taken action against tea brokers for the violation of Tea Board license norms in spite of filing complaints. Thus due to the inaction of the Tea Board of India, about a hundred tea factories in the Nilgiris District alone have been closed.
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deva_mathan
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:48 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Well,

Thanks Mrs AnithaG Gokul - Me not sure how to address you.

Your idea of printing pamphlets will work,, may be with some difficulty. Recently I was discussing water issues at hatty and how to garner support and make permanet water resourses and storage. Couple of very casual guys seems to agree that, it is a great engineering thinking.

Why I am quoting this is... the fall of tea price is infact a blessing in disguise. At least, I opine so. Now our fellow brothern, in hatties have realised the need for betterment in living and earning. (few going wayward is nonetheless a common phenomenon). the proposal will take off well.

Somehow, I find, in the very recent days ... say 2 years time... ourl people want collective movements. I am sure, if the persons said in my previous posting, takes time to highlight these postings at Coimbatore & Bangalore Badaga association, and possibly in Chennai Badaga Association [ if it resurfaces again... from its current pseudo form ], then we can highlight at hatty level meetings... and quoting from Tamil movie versions. Sutthu patti Pathnettu Gramam....which can snow ball into Seemai level. and goes to Delhi eventually.

Perhaps, Ooty YBA building and committe members could play a role too.

My personal suggestion is that, we embark on the whole movement with out any political figure trying to gain mileage out of this. This should be purely by badagas.. for the badagas.. kind, and people like you and Bejay pee who pours in their observations and others in the same wavelenghth, including me.

Yes. you put it rightly.. that BSE & NSEs. These are purely organised gambling dens . something of legalised white collar crimes. with government machinery useless as usual and trying to Tax people who do FD with their hard earned money...

Having said that, I am looking forward for furthering the movement. Pl let me know some week ends, I can spare some time highlighting to any village of our collective decision.

I hope Mr LIC Bellie - Achanikal -- at Coimbatore will react.

Cheers!

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anithagkl
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Dev anna, formalities apart, you can call me Anitha. I think I have not put my point across clearly regarding SEBI and Tea Board of India. I meant that while SEBI is doing its regulatory functions quite fairly by taking action against fraudulent brokers and canceling license of brokers such as KARVI, India Bulls, etc., Tea Board has been doing nothing in this regard. Instead, it has been conniving with the tea brokers to completely wipe out the Tea industry in the country.

For example, take the share market, where the price at which the seller sells his share and the price at which the buyer buys the said shares is the same. Share brokers get only a commission. Whereas in the tea market, factories sell the tea at an average price of less than Rs.40 per kg, the consumers pay at an average price of more than Rs.150 per kg. Where did the hundred Rupees go? !!! Is this the distribution cost?

I agree with you that a mass movement is required starting at the hatti level. Like you said we should start through the associations. Our approach can be three pronged.

First of all we should use the RTI act to expose and weaken the nexus between the brokers and Tea Board, to mentally disintegrate them. I think we should send a lot of applications under RTI. We should invite more ideas and questions from everyone (like from the tea growers point of view, etc).

Secondly we should create awareness among all the people, especially the youngsters who are willing to do something. We need to take our idea to the hatti people through meetings, pamphlets, conferences, group discussions, media, etc. (We need media attention to help our cause).

Thirdly once we have enough documentary evidence and we have created awareness among the people we can plan for a mass movement. I’m sure the movement will take off by the people themselves once we’ve made a strong foundation.

Any suggestions?

Once again I appeal to all the members to join in the discussions and give your valuable suggestions. Please send applications under RTI so that we can take this movement forward. If we can’t do it now, we will never do it! This topic should not be buried under the pile of other topics.
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deva_mathan
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:54 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks Anitha,

I am happy that you address me as Anna. Kind of you.

Hope you know me from this Badaga web pages. In case you don't know, I started of as simple hatty lad at Kil Kundah, with Gilli, Goli and Cows..... then BE Honours, ME in Electronics -in '85 --- with Chennai, Pune, Gujarat , Hong Kong - Asignments till 2002, before taking up as Professor at one of the Pvt Engg Colleges in Coimbatore for 2 years till 2004 Aug. Since last 3-1/2 years at Chennai, for my livelyhood. with a short term deputation stint at California.

When time permits, google search my full name and read 2 write ups of me in www.circuitree.com

I have read about you & Mr Gokul in this web pages. I have tried to join the links from the previous postings from these pages by BeeJayPe. If I am right, Sri Gokul is the DFO who took up this cause with some court case, as I understand. [Pl correct me, if need be.] If that is so, hats off to him.

Well, getting back to the point, the Coimbatore Badaga Association & YBA activists at Ooty are the ones, appears to my mind, to kick start the program. I was told Bangalore Badaga Association is having long list and details of members. I wish & hope, someone in B'lore & Hyderabad Badaga Association reads these postings.

I am likely to be at Hatty this week end on personal agenda. I hope to spread this message in a small way with people who shows interest in such issues [ verbally atleast], and in a weeks time this news must spread to neighbouring 4/5 villages. Our fellow brothern are fast in spreading such messages.

I pray, our fellow brothern will join, and new green revolution seed is sown in few weeks from now, and hope this movement will spread roots and creeps far and wide and wake up someone, someday in Delhi.

At this point of time, I can only wish and recall words of Vivekananda.. Awake, Arise... and stop not till the goal is reached.

Cheers!

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anithagkl
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 3:34 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I would like to share some more information happening in this front.

FIR BOOKED ON TEA BROKERS

I do not know if anyone is aware about the fact that, for the first time about 7 FIRs have been booked against tea brokers during the last 7-8 months under the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Exorbitant Interest Act, 2003 (kandhu vaddi Act) in Nilgiris. Initially awareness was created among the factory owners about the menace of the exorbitant interest and how they had been trapped unknowingly in this vicious cycle. A few factory owners mustered enough courage to fight against the tea brokers and filed complaints in different Police stations.
Initially, the Police were reluctant to take up the case. However, when the Superintendent of Police, Nilgiris and the DIG, Coimbatore were briefed thoroughly about the unfair trade practice followed by the tea brokers, they were convinced that this was a fit case to be filed against tea brokers. If it wasn’t for the intervention of the SP of Nilgiris; Smt.Vidya Balan IPS, filing cases against tea brokers would have been impossible. We all have to be thankful for the service she has done.
However, these brokers being powerful people saw to it that other factories do not follow suit by using different tactics. They have also been successful in delaying the process of investigation on the FIRs filed. As of now, charge sheets have not yet been filed in the courts against the brokers. There is also a move to close the cases, citing frivolous reasons. This has demoralized the remaining factory owners (fence sitters) who took the wait and watch stance.
So there is an option for us to question the Police inaction/ delayed tactics under the Right to Information Act to morally support them and also to achieve desired results.
The impacts of the FIRs filed are:
(i) The brokers had gone into hiding and escaped arrest by obtaining anticipatory bail
(ii) They have offered to negotiate with the factory owners, if they withdrew the FIRs.
(iii) They have not approached courts to file cheque cases, etc against factory owners during the past 6 months or so.


Last edited by anithagkl on Tue Feb 05, 2008 6:24 am; edited 2 times in total
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bjaypee
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:37 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Ms. Anitha Gokul's info on FIR makes me think about the sad state of affairs.

Here is a lady, staying far away from home, but deeply concerned about the blatant way the small tea growers - most of them Badagas, being taken for a ride, trying to do something. While, many gutless 'bought leaf factory' owners and others concerned, sit back sipping a peg or two indulging in needless gossip back home.

I meet them in many functions and in the clubs whenever I visit Nilgiris. When questioned why they are not doing any thing about the low tea prices and the brokers cartel, not a single one of them could give me a convincing answer. Mind you, these are all the so called highly educated lot.

We Badagas are simple but a scared lot. For centuries, we lived in mortal fear of KURUMAS though they may not have done any harm other than playing on our fearful mentality. Now we are doing the same..living in mortal fear of the brokers.

But to Anitha, please do not give up your courage of conviction. The results may come much later.

BUT, SURELY IT WILL COME!

One person can change the society! A hundred can change the world!!

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anithagkl
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 6:29 am Reply with quoteBack to top

JP Uncle and Dev anna, thanks alot for your invaluable support.
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anithagkl
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:56 am Reply with quoteBack to top

VIOLATION OF THE COMPETITION ACT (RESTRICTIVE TRADE AND MONOPOLIES ACT) BY TEA BROKERS

We generally look at tea factory owners as demons responsible for the sorry state of affairs of the tea growers. Tea brokers who have formed a cartel are capitalizing on this hatred. They are following a divide and rule policy between the tea growers and the factory owners. The tea brokers have also been successful in dividing the factory owners, between the influential ones and others. The teas of the bigger players and the influential factory owners are sold at better rates by the tea brokers, so that they do not destabilize this unfair trade practice. But the teas of majority of small players are sold at below par rates.
However, the brokers have formed an illegal and informal cartel among themselves. Thus any factory in the debt trap of any particular broker cannot sell tea through any other broker, without a No-due certificate from that broker. This is in complete violation of the Competition Act (Restrictive Trade and Monopolies Act). This cartel has already been brought to the notice of Tea Board of India, but to no heed. They have given a damn to this issue and have not bothered to reply to the letters written in the previous year, even though a reply was sought from Tea Board of India. The action taken by the Tea Board on this violation also needs to be questioned under RTI.
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deva_mathan
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Anitha,

Thanks for updating on RTM act. If am not wrong, earlier this was known as MRTP Act. Or the new one could be modified version.

By the way, can you pl let me know the status of Poplice Case. Is it alive. Can any Tea factory owner file a case now ?

Eager to know the response.



Cheers!

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anithagkl
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:06 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I am not really sure of what action has been taken regarding the FIR's that were filed, charge sheets have not been done. Actually i am sending applications under RTI to the Nilgiris Police asking for information regarding this issue.I was supposed to send it 2 days back, but it got delayed. The brokers have tried to delay the proceedings and i heard that even 1 or 2 cases may be closed citing lack of evidence even though evidence was provided. The FIR numbers are as follows:


1).FIR No:276/07 dated 17-7-07 at Upper Coonoor Police Station under Section 3 and 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of charging Exhorbitant Interest Act 2003 filed against Ms. Global Tea Brokers Coonoor by Ms Rishi Tea Industries, Coonoor.

2).FIR NO:748/07 dated 21-07-07 at Coonoor Town Police Station under Tamil Nadu Prohibition of charging Exhorbitant Interest Act 2003, and 506(1) of IPC. filed against Ms Carritt Moran Co Pvt Ltd. by Ms.JMG Tea Industries, Kotagiri.

3).FIR No:277/07 dated 17-7-07 at Upper Coonoor Police Station under Section 3 and 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of charging Exhorbitant Interest Act 2003 filed against Ms. Global Tea Brokers Coonoor by Ms. Somerset Tea Plantation Company, Kil Kotagiri.

4).FIR No:30/07 dated 8-5-07 at Emerald Police Station under Section 3 and 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of charging Exhorbitant Interest Act 2003 filed against Ms Carritt Moran Co Pvt Ltd. by Ms Avalanche Tea Industries, Emerald.

5). FIR No:278/07 dated 17-7-07 at Upper Coonoor Police Station under Section 3 and 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of charging Exhorbitant Interest Act 2003 filed against Ms. Global Tea Brokers Coonoor by Ms ThomaHuchal Tea Producers Pvt Ltd, Coonoor.

6).FIR No:735/07 dated 18-7-07 at Coonoor Town Police Station under Tamil Nadu Prohibition of charging Exhorbitant Interest Act 2003 filed against Ms Carritt Moran Co Pvt Ltd. by Ms ThomaHuchal Tea Producers Pvt Ltd, Coonoor.


There are 1 or 2 more FIR's which will be updated shortly.
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