Tea manufacturing firms in the Nilgiris cooperative sector, named Indco Tea Factories, are undergoing massive modernization, balancing technology with the tradition of eco-friendly manufacturing, with the help of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
‘NABARD will support the modernization of five Indco factories at a cost of Rs 18.54 crore,’ stated NABARD Chairman G R Chintala. He officially launched an eco-restoration project at the Indco factory in the valley of Kattabettu close Coonoor. Chintala said that the eco-system around Kattabettu has undergone significant improvements since the time the project started here in September.
The Kattabettu manufacturing plant is the first of 16 factories under this project, eco-restoration work is also underway in the Mahalinga Indco factory, told Supriya Sahu, Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, who also is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indcoserve (the apex body of Indco factories).
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The eco-restoration plant of Kattabettu was a joint venture between Indcoserve and the NGO Keystone Foundation.
Supriya Sahu said that Indcoserve will become a leader in the promotion of environmentally sustainable tea production. This is significant because more than 200 tea factories operate in the Nilgiris Biosphere, which extends over 5,200 square kilometers of unique flora and fauna in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. As a result, these tea factories are responsible for protecting this biodiversity by adopting eco-sustainable manufacturing practices, she said.
Disclosing the removal of invasive plants in the locality and the planting of shola trees as part of this project, she said that a Wetlands Park and an Information Center had been set up to increase awareness of creation for the benefit of the public.
‘As for modernization, the Kattabettu tea factory has been revamped to produce high-quality teas, including specialty teas, to provide a domestic and international platform for small-scale tea growers. This includes a state-of-the-art tea tasting room and convention facility to allow buyers to sample teas in the premises themselves,’ Supriya Sahu told.
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Nilgiris District Collector Innocent Divya said that tea factories should focus on protecting the environment and helping farmers to get better prices. Coonoor MLA Shanthi Ramu urged Indcoserve to modernize all 16 factories.
Chintala also opened “Indco’s Tea House” in Kattabettu, a cafeteria serving teas from Indco factories. This is the second such outlet, the first one being the one opened in Coonoor in November 2020. dDignitaries like Sivakumar the Chairman of Indcoserve and Kattabettu Indco Factory Chairman Sumathi were present.