India's NITM - Dharlene FahlAhh, there is nothing more satisfying than a great cup of tea!

It is the job and the mission of some to ensure that your cup of tea meets some very specific standards of excellence.  Quality tea begins long before the leaves, or the tea bag, land gently at bottom of your teapot.  It goes all the way back to the soil in which the tea plant (the Camellia sinesis) is rooted, and it is becoming very scientific.

Established by the Darjeeling Tea Research and Management Association and committed to promoting excellence in the tea industry is The National Institute of Tea Management (NITM) in Siliguri, India.  It was my privilege and honor to be the guest, not just once, but twice, of Kaushik Bhattacharjee, the Assistant Director of the NITM, with whom I am shown in the photo above.  The photo below shows me with two other NITM staff members – Miss. Janv, Personal Secretary to me, and Miss. Subhadra, Laboratory Assistant.

The biggest part of his mission is to generate a pool of trained staff that can effectively run a tea estate.  So far, the NITM has organized 51 Training/Management Development Programs for the tea industry.  With a sound placement record for those students who obtain a Post-Graduate Diploma in Tea (PGDT), the NITM has emerged as the leading employment-generating institute.

Approximately 600 students so far have been awarded a Diploma from the NITM, with the majority of them successfully working in tea plantations and tea sales in India and abroad.  Apart from India, students from many countries (including Japan, Germany, Bangladesh, and Nepal) come to the Institute to undertake the PGDT.

The Certificate Program on Computer Application in Tea was introduced by the NITM to enable the tea industry to keep pace with the technological advances in each and every aspect of tea production, including processing, marketing, and human resources.  In addition to the development of competent staff, the Institute is also developing software, keeping in mind the requirements of the tea industry.

Research is also an important part of the NITM’s mission.  Field and laboratory trials are in progress, as are physiological studies of different planting materials currently released for cultivation under diverse agro-climatic conditions.  Also in progress are efforts to standardize various cultural practices to be adopted by the gardens to enhance crop productivity with assured quality.

In addition, a research project based on ergonomic studies has been undertaken by the NITM to enhance pluckers’ productivity, and thereby reduce the cost of production.

Preliminary work has been completed to study the feasibility of recycling the pruning litter, shade tree droppings, and weed growth by employing vermiculture and a number of suitable micro-organisms.  A study has also been undertaken to identify the nature of the soil profile in tea-growing areas.

Trials are also being carried out to find ways of simplifying the method of propagation.  One such method developed by the NITM has resulted in plants being ready for a plantation within 7-8 months.

Graduates of the NITM trainingThe NITM has a well-equipped soil-testing laboratory, which has already been approved by the Tea Board of India.  For the first time in the history of tea research, the Institute has undertaken fertility mapping for individual tea gardens.  Fertility mapping is helping the planters to formulate an integrated approach to fertilizer and irrigation management.  The soil-testing laboratory is also involved in routine soil analysis for advisory support.

The NITM has undertaken time-bound, result-oriented advisory services in various tea gardens in North Bengal, Bihar, and Assam.  The gardens availing themselves of the NITM’s advisory services have shown a growth rate of 5 -10% per annum.

It was a pleasure to learn of the passion and dedication to the tea industry that my now good friend, Kaushik Bhattacharjee, displays every day in his profession at the NITM.  He is indeed committed to promoting tea excellence, as well as ensuring a viable future for the tea industry.

Here are a few words from my friend, Kaushik:

“Gone are the days when tea gardens were run by a non-technical person.  The practice is very scientific.  In order to manage the daily activities inside the tea estate, the management needs to be educated frequently through proper scientific methods. 

To enter the tea garden at executive levels, fresh graduates need to be given thorough education in Plantation Techniques, Manufacturing, Selection of Planting Materials, and other field operations, such as Labor Management, Human Resource Management, Industrial Relations, and Basic Computer Knowledge.

NITM, the pioneer institute of tea management in Northeast India, devotes itself to transferring a technological approach to the newcomers as well as in-service people who are already in tea garden jobs.  The Institute offers 100% placement assistance to qualified students every year.  So far, more than 600 students from India and abroad have already been awarded a Post-Graduate Diploma in Tea and are successfully serving the tea industry.  ??I would like to invite the youth to join this course and save the tea industry in the long run.”

Interested persons may contact Kaushik Bhattacharjee, Assistant Director, NITM, Darjeeling Tea Research & Management Association, Shivmandir, P. O. Kadamtala, Dist. Darjeeling, West Bengal, India, Pin : 734011, Phone : +91 353 2581582, Cell Phone: +91 94343 27123, Email:, website:

There are no age restrictions for foreign students – all are welcome.


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