The Dam Dim Tea Estate is spread over an area of about 1500 hectares with 738 hectares of planted tea. The estate is divided into three divisions namely – Hatkhola, Barrons and the North Grant Division. Research on the origins of the estate and the name ‘Dam Dim’ itself reveals quite a few interesting discoveries. Hatkhola literally translated means an open market. In the bygone days, the tribals from the hills would come down to the plains with the intention of selling or bartering their wares and produce, with the people residing here. The route that these historic traders took is now called the Chel Bypass. Interestingly, this route is the main trade route to Nathula Pass.
Hatkhola was the first division to be planted in the late 19th century. The tea factory was also set up there and the estate came to be known as the Hatkhola Tea Estate. Sometime in the early 19th century, the company applied for and successfully received the permission to plant tea in the area towards the south. The division was named ‘Barrons’ in honor of the official who granted the permission. In keeping with the same tradition, the North Grant Division was named after Mr. North, the DC of Jalpaiguri at the time of planting of the division. In the intermittent period, the factory at Hatkhola was gutted in a fire and the new factory was built in the Barrons Division. The name of the estate was changed to Dam Dim.
The name Dam Dim has its origins in the name of an insect – Dim Dima, found in the North East. An interesting anecdote supports the origin of the name. Immediately after the fire in the Hatkhola factory, the engineer entrusted with the refurbishing of the place, was apparently quite fed up with the monotonous Carte – Du – Jour. His breakfast, which mostly comprised of an omelet or some other egg preparation, was not much to his liking. Here eggs are known as ‘Deem’. Having been quite hassled about his regular meal, his frequent outbursts – ‘Damn Deem’, gave rise to its current name.
|Mature Area||690.13 hectares|
|Immature Area||47.89 hectares|
|Total Tea Area||738.02 hectares|
|VP Nursery||7.88 hectares|
|Area under Seed Bari/Fuel Bari||6.42 hectares|
|Area suitable for tea||37.00 hectares|
|Land used for Roads, Drains, and Grazing etc.||56.33 hectares|
|Land used for Paddy cultivation||413.04 hectares|
|Land occupied for building & establishments||102.82 hectares|
|Total Tea Production||13.35 lakh Kilograms|
|Total Estate Area||1361.51 hectares|
Garden Produce & Production Facility
Dam Dim, spread over an area of 1361.51 hectares, has about 738 Hectares of planted tea. The tea estate has the capacity to produce 19 lakh kilograms of CTC tea which is the final product that it has to offer. 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 Laminated Jute Bags & PP woven sacks, sealed and marked with hand-rollers using non-porous ink.
The factory has a total trough capacity of 26400 square feet (52800 kilograms). The aluminium industries were replaced with Vikram CFM in 2010 – 2011. The RFU was replaced with MGWF (Micro Gravimetric Weigh Feeder) Units in all three CTC Banks in 2010-11 and one Bank in 2013-14. The use of Electric Deep Tube Well Sanction was received in 2010-11 and this helped in reducing the dependency on river water irrigation, which is seasonal in nature as well as dries up during the months December – April. In 2012-13, additional CTC Bank along with Jigger / MGWF and Ghoogie was sanctioned to optimize the VFBD drier feeding & maximise the trough capacity. The introduction of a conveyor in the processing area, self feeding of the drier and individual Santoor for the CFM (which was sanctioned in 2012-13) has helped in augmenting modernization of the factory and also, increase the productivity.
People Welfare Commitments
Dam Dim has 1890 permanent employees who reside in 1349 quarters. Additionally, during the peak season, it employs 1200 – 1300 temporary workers primarily for plucking.
The current population of the estate is 1954 (statutory strength). The entire population currently resides in 1349 quarters. The housing complex is maintained by the estate, free of cost. The quarters are provided with a regular water supply through 182 taps & 147 ring wells.
It provides 1349 labour quarters to accommodate its workforce. Close to the labour colony, there is a hospital which provides them medical treatment as and when they need it. The hospital with 39 beds has a general ward for male & female, a maternity ward and an isolation ward for extreme cases. The hospital also has a highly dedicated medical team with 21 years of experience lead by a Group Medical Officer. Two pharmacists, one GNM and one ANM, three nursing attendants provide additional help as and when required. Various facilities such as free cataract operation for the aged, free aides & appliances such as wheel chair, caliper, crutches, tricycle, hearing aids, etc for the physically challenged (this is sponsored by NISWARTH – NGO) are offered at the estate. A government recognized pathology lab for sputum examination of TB patients is also in place. Modern facilities like 300 MA X-Ray Machine is also available here.
Also, to safeguard their health and hygiene, 911 toilets have been constructed with individual Septic Tanks for each one of them. Regular cleaning and disinfectant programmes are run in to maintain health & hygiene standards.
For the children between 0 to 6 years of age, the estate runs three crèche facilities that have playing equipments, cots, and milk feeding facilities, mid-day meal, pre-school activities & community health volunteers. To uplift the social status of the workers, the estate runs three Adult Education Centres. There are also vocational training centres to help prepare several members from the workers’ family for the job market.
Mahila mandals and other dedicated committees such as EEC look into facilitating the community’s participation in different affairs. In the neighbouring villages, the estate organizes various programmes in order to encourage harmonious relationship building among the different residing communities and to uplift the rural poor.
Packed rations are issued to the workers to improve their quality of living. There are four Labour Clubs which help in giving the members the scope to interact with each other, discuss their problems and create awareness on various lifestyle issues.
The Dam Dim Tea Estate has endeavoured to keep its commitments towards protecting the environment and contributing in its own way to sustain nature.
All labour quarters at Dam Dim have the essential provision of electricity under the Pilot Project of WBSEDCL, with separate committees who co-ordinate the daily activities with the members at WBSEDCL. In order to conserve electricity, the VP Nursery was solar panelled. Solar paneling will be introduced across the tea estate depending on the feasibility.
Hospital garbage is first color coded and subsequently, disposed through government certified agencies.
Soil analysis is done on a yearly basis at the R&D section of Teok Tea Estate. Manures applied in the plantation are as per their recommendations. The application of bio fertilizers has been implemented to reduce the application of inorganic fertilizers which cause environmental hazards.
Certifications & Awards
ISO 22000, SA 8000, Trustea & ETP
Best Health Care & Welfare Award, 2009
The Italian Consul General visited the Dam Dim Tea Estate in April, 2014.