Siliguri: Steps were on to reintroduce e-auction by February next year in all the six tea auction centres in the country, according to the Tea Board’s controller of licensing, Harendranath Dwibedi.
Addressing the 30th annual general meeting of Siliguri Tea Auction Control (STAC) here on 9 March, Dwibedi said the e-auction system which was introduced at Kochi, Coonoor, Guwahati and Siliguri between 2004 and 2005 was discontinued due to technical reasons.
The Tea Board will sign agreement with one of the two shortlisted IT firms from Kolkata and Mumbai by April to supply the required software within 270 days, Dwibedi said.
Dwibedi also said the Tea Board okayed the STAC’s proposal to introduce “instant auction sale” system at Siliguri centre by April to speed up the auction and subsequent payments.
IAS system would reduce the cataloguing time for tea sent to STAC to three days from seven days at present.
Payment option of 15 days for the buyers would be divided into two slabs, one-seven days and eight-15 days.
Buyers who make payment within seven days would be entitled to a discount of 2%, STAC chairman S.K. Sarai said.
Whether the mandatory value-added tax would be charged on the actual auction price or the discounted price was not yet settled, Sarai said, adding that the problem would be solved soon to make the IAS system “an effective and encouraging one”.