Shimla: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce (PSCC) headed by BJP Rajya Sabha member Shanta Kumar has recommended declaration of tea as a `national drink`.
Stating this at Palampur on Friday, Kumar said the 102nd report of the Committee on the Tea Industry had placed in both houses of the Parliament that 96 percent to 99 percent people in both Urban and Rural areas of the country consume tea and as such it has already acquired the status of a national drink.
Right from people living in huts to visiting five star hotels, he said, tea was consumed by people and the only hope for the people, especially women, in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh where the tea Industry be developed, he said.
Kumar also said that the Committee made an exhaustive tour of the tea and coffee growing areas and listened to the problems of the cultivators who made about 100 recommendations for revival and strengthening of the tea and coffee industry.
A matter of concern in Himachal was that the area under tea cultivation had shrunk from 2300 hectares to 1100 hectares and immediate steps needed to be taken to save the industry, he added.
The Committee also recommended that a package be announced for the tea industry within three months and 50 per cent subsidy be given to coffee growers for regeneration and replantation to revive their industry.
It also recommended modification of MNREGA to cover the labour engaged by coffee plantations to meet the shortage of workers, he added.