150-year-old Kangra tea to be patented

Tuesday, 25 January 2005, 08:00 Hrs
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SHIMLA: A rare tea grown in the foothills of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh is set to be patented by the state government.

"We are in the process of getting the 150-year-old Kangra tea patented and thereby prevent marketing agencies from misusing its brand name," said S.S. Chandel, principal scientific officer, State Council for Science & Technology.

"We have applied to the Registrar of Geographical Indications (RGI) at Chennai," Chandel told IANS.

The British introduced Kangra tea in 1852 on the slopes of the scenic Kangra valley in and around the town of Palampur, some 250 km from here.

Until a few decades ago, Kangra tea, unique for its flavour, was in great demand in Europe, Central Asia and Australia. It is still greatly preferred in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Tea is grown in about 2,500 hectares in Kangra and also in a few pockets of Mandi and Chamba. It is different from the more famous Darjeeling, Nilgiri and Sri Lankan varieties.

Both black and green tea is grown in the hill state. According to the Kangra tea board, there are 3,679 tea growers in the state.

In the last few years, the industry has been hit by global competition as much cheaper Chinese tea is being imported. Besides, weather changes in the region have also reduced the production of this tea variety.

The state government has already patented the Kullu shawl, a famed handicraft of the hill state.

Source: IANS
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