Sri Lanka raises fines for sub-standard tea

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will sharply raise fines to crack down on the sale of ‘refuse tea’ or tea waste, a government spokesman said.

Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said the Cabinet of Ministers had approved a proposal by Navin Dissanayake, Minister of Plantation Industries, to amend the Tea Control Act No. 51 of 1957.

The changes increase the powers of the minister to make orders regarding ‘refuse’ tea, he told a news conference.

‘Refuse tea’ refers to waste produced during the manufacture of black tea. It consists largely of fibre mixed with a little black tea with the latter sometimes being processed again for the use of local consumption.

The sale of ‘refuse tea’ in the local market or export is banned although the authorities have uncovered rackets where ‘refuse tea’ is sold mixed with good tea.

Karunathilake said the maximum fine for an offender has been raised to Rs500,000 from Rs50,000, and the maximum amount that can be charged in compounding of the offence to Rs500,000 from Rs10,000.

The classification of refuse tea has also been changed to ‘rejected’ tea.
(COLOMBO, May 11 2016)

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