The word Hathikuli is derived from the Assamese words “Hathi” (elephant) and “Kuli” (Frequent) which translates into a place that is frequently visited by elephants. The estate is situated on NH-37, adjoining the Kaziranga National Park which is a world heritage site. It falls in two districts- Golaghat & Karbi-Anglong. The tea garden stretches 15 Kms along the Highway. It produces Organic Green Tea, Orthodox Tea, CTC Tea, Black pepper and inorganic fish spawns.
As the garden is located in the same ecological zone as the Kaziranga National Park, the company decided to convert it into an organic plantation.The transformation initiated in 2007, finally achieved completion in 2011. The organic status of the estate has led to an increase in the number of natural predators that feed on the various pests that blight the tea plants. Turning the plantation into an organic one has naturally improved its soil structure. There are a huge number of earth worms in the estate’s soil compared to that of the conventional gardens. Hathikuli is also host to many wild animals and birds which visit the estate now and then.
The 1st section of the garden was planted in1902. The estate belonged to James Finlay & Company who came all the way from Scotland to Assam. The estate came under the ownership of Tata Tea in March 1983 and in March 2007, Amalgamated Plantations Pvt. Ltd. took up the reins of the plantation.
|Land under Tea||474.57 hectares|
|Land suitable for Planting||12.8 hectares|
|Land used for Kitchen Gardens||2.81 hectares|
|Land used for other than Cultivation||184.01hectares|
|Land Requisitioned /Leased out||0.46 hectares|
|Total Tea Production||4.07 lakh kilograms|
Note of Interest
The famous music composer and director Salil Chodhury, spent a few years of his child hood in Hathikuli Tea Estate during the tenure of his father, Dr. G. Chowdhury’s service here as the Estate Medical Officer between 1931 to 1951. The Irish Chief Medical Officer of the estate, Dr. Maloni possessed a gramophone which Salil Choudhury would use to play and listen to orchestral music.
Garden Produce & Production Facility
The tea factory has the capacity to produce 10 lakh kilograms of CTC, Orthodox and Green tea which are the final products that it has to offer. In 2013, over 3 million kilograms of organic tea was produced by Hathikuli. The plucking season here, begins in March, runs through the rest of the year and ends in December.
Fresh green tea leaves from the garden are plucked and processed in the factory which is located within the estate. The produce is manually sorted and individually graded. They are then packed separately into PP woven sacks, sealed and marked with hand-rollers using non-porous ink.
People Welfare Commitments
Hathikuli has 836 permanent employees and during the peak season, it employs an additional 1200 temporary workers. It is home to almost 4000 members, and the welfare of all is of utmost concern to the estate. There are 555 quarters to accommodate the workers, 21 for the staff and 6 quarters to accommodate the management team.
The estate has a 36 bedded state-of-the-art hospital which is well equipped to handle any emergency at a primary level. Also, there are 3 dispensaries and an ambulance to cater to the medical needs of the workers. The medical department is managed by Dr. Surabhi Chetia.
The estate has three crèches where modern audio visual technology is implemented to increase the mental growth of the garden children. The estate infact, was instrumental in introducing mobile crèche to tea gardens.
Hathikuli continuously endeavours to provide better standards of living for its workers. The estate is credited for being the first to distribute ration to the workers in poly packs. There is the provision of a school bus service for the students of the estate. Out of 8, 7 labour lines have electric supply.
Hathikuli believes in fostering the spirit of equality among its workers. The new canteen has been constructed for use by the management, staff as well as all the workers. A new recreational campus is under construction which will house two clubs, one each for the workers and the staff. It will also accommodate facilities like a library cum gymnasium and a basketball court.
An EEC committee has been formed which regularly holds meeting to handle and resolve grievances at the grass root level. Also various plans and policies are discussed in these meetings.
The Hathikuli Tea Estate has endeavoured to keep its commitments towards protecting the environment and contributing in its own way to sustain nature.
The estate implements the Rain Forest’s Instructions on Waste disposal methodically.
Soil analysis is done on a yearly basis at the R&D section of Teok Tea Estate. Hathikuli extensively uses vermin-compost and heap compost to enrich the humus and organic compounds in the soil. Artificially produced manures like urea are not used in the plantation. Instead manual sickling is practised which helps in protecting the precious top soil. Further, to prevent soil erosion, hedges are planted along the peripheries.
Certifications & Awards
ISO 22000 , SA 8000 , ETP, One Cert Organic, JAS and Rain Forest Alliance.
“Wind Under the Wing” awarded by Sanctuary Asia, Family Welfare Award- 1st in 2006, and 2nd position for 2009,12 & 13 by ABITA.