Ensuring bidders’ entry to Duncan’s tea estates, says court

Kolkata, April 8 (IANS) Following allegations of denied entry, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed access be ensured, to seven of the tea estates belonging to the Duncan Industries in West Bengal, to the bidders who have expressed interest of taking over their management control.

The order by the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Arijit Banerjee came during the hearing of two petitions challenging the central government’s decision to take over management/control of seven tea estates.

In January 28, the union commerce ministry had notified of taking over the management/control of the seven tea estates in north Bengal, contending they were “managed in a manner highly detrimental to the tea industry and public interest”.

In pursuance of the notification, the Tea Board of India invited expression of interest for taking over the management of six tea estates – Birpara, Garganda, Lankapara, Tulsipara, Huntapara and Dumchipara – which are under control of Duncans Industries and Demdima tea estate under Santipara Tea Co. Ltd.

The company subsequently moved the high court challenging the move.

During the hearing, central government counsel claimed the bidders were prevented by the company from entering the tea estates.

But the allegations were denied by company counsel.

After hearing the parties, the bench directed that the bidders be allowed to enter the tea estates without any obstacles.

The matter will come up for hearing next on April 11.

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