Nylon bag replaces bamboo basket in tea gardens

JORHAT, Jan 26 : The one enduring image which unfolds in the mind’s eye when one thinks of a tea garden is of a woman carrying a basket on her back with leave-picking hands.

This image is slowly but surely being replaced by the image of women now carrying nylon mesh bags or cloth bags.

The tea planters in the State today prefer the cheaper and long-lasting nylon mesh bags to bamboo baskets.
“Bamboos are costly and the baskets of specific size are not always available when required. Moreover, bamboos too have become a scarce commodity,” said a planter in the district.

“A nylon bag usually lasts a season and sometimes two, whereas the bamboo baskets usually get damaged before that and the bamboos sometimes dry and shrink,” the planter further said.
A source said that the scarcity of bamboo baskets first arose after people of the Hindi-speaking community fled the State in large numbers after being targeted and killed by militants.
“These migrant labourers were mostly engaged in weaving the baskets and after they left we have not been able to keep the supply line going”, the source stated.
He also confirmed that the baskets were costlier by three to four times than that of the nylon bags.
“A nylon bag costs anything between Rs 25 to  Rs 35, but a bamboo basket ranges between Rs 150 to Rs 300, he further said.
Whatever the reason, nylon has won over the eco-friendly bamboo and the image of the tea garden worker carrying her basket will soon be relegated to the realms of memory and history.