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   history of the gtac

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History was being made as a tea Auction Centre was opened on 25th September, 1970 at the fast developing city of Guwahati, the gateway to India's North East.

Assam has the largest concentration of tea plantations in the world and the single biggest tea producing area. It accounts for nearly 55% of India's total tea production and about 80% of the country's export. The tea industry is so far the biggest industry of the state of Assam. With the plantation occupying large areas of land and yet had little contribution to the development of the area and economic progress. Regional aspirations made it imperative that the tea industry play a pivot role in the state's economy and that local entrepreneurs get a slice of the tea trade.

From 1960s efforts were on way for establishment of the Tea Auction Centre in Guwahati. A group of Assam based planters were determined that despite all constraints an Auction Centre must be set up and worked steadfastly towards that objective. Their perseverance had borne fruit and that the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre had become a reality.

The first meeting of the Guwahati Tea Auction Committee was held at Shillong, the then capital of Assam, on august 29, 1970 under the chairmanship of Late Dharmendra Das. A draft of the GTAC rules was approved with a few amendments and date of the inaugural sale was finally decided as September 25, 1970.

The time span was too short for a new warehouse to be built for storing tea consignments. Shri Anil Sarma having his experience in an internationally reputed construction company took up the challenge in converting the spacious ASIDC sheds to a tea warehouse which was completed in record time to his credit.

The historic truckload from Bahoni Tea Estate had just arrived. During those heady, hectic days it was another inspiring moment to see local youths unloading the tea chests from a truck and carrying them on their heads into the warehouse.

The auction hall at the stadium Guest House bustled with activity from early in the morning on that day. Members of the officially constituted Guwahati Tea Auction Committee were busy giving final touches to the inaugural arrangements. By then the hall became jam-packed. The atmosphere inside the Auction Hall was out of the world. It was as if each member of the audience was aware that they were witnesses to the unfolding of another chapter of the history of tea.

Many dignitaries from the Government, tea planters, prominent citizens and important personalities, besides the members of the Guwahati Tea Auction Committee attended. Newly registered buyers who had never before participated in an auction, outnumbered the buyers from other Auction Centres. Even non-tea people, out of sheer curiosity or inspired by the occasion, had turned up in great numbers. Quite a few personalities from the Calcutta (now Kolkata) trade, producers, brokers and buyers had to come to this first sale, not as participants, but as observers.

At precise 11 AM former Finance Minister, Late K P Tripathi addressed the gathering and spoke about the role played by the Government in setting up this Auction Centre. Then the Chairman, Guwahati Tea Auction Centre, Late D Das, made a short speech and then invited Late R G Baruah to auction the first lot to donate the proceeds to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.

Amidst wild cheers and deafening echoes, the first lot was auctioned at a price of Rs 42.50 per Kg (considered to be fabulous during those days) and knocked down the hammer to a local trader from Jorhat, Late Jaffar Ali of Diamond Tea Co. Thereafter, the auction was conducted according to the sale order.

photograph to be attached                                                              

The Auction Hall as seen on September 25, 1970

The GTAC as of today...

 

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