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Tea Industry

Along the river Brahmaputra is situated Dibrugarh, the largest tea exporting town in India. It is also the gateway to Arunachal Pradesh. Dibrugarh, surrounded by tea gardens with the misty outlines of the Himalayas in the background. Dibrugarh is located along the river Brahmaputra. Some times it is referred as the gateway to some districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Of historical note, tea is nearly 5,000 years old and was discovered, as legend has it, in 2737 b.c. by a Chinese emperor when some tea leaves accidentally blew into a pot of boiling water. In the 1600s tea became popular throughout Europe and the American colonies. Since colonial days, tea has played a role in American culture and customs. Today American schoolchildren learn about the famous Boston Tea Party protesting the British tea tax -- one of the acts leading to the Revolutionary War. During this century, two major American contributions to the tea industry occurred. In 1904, iced tea was created at the World's Fair in St. Louis, and in 1908, Thomas Sullivan of New York developed the concept of tea in a bag.

Tea breaks down into three basic types: black, green and oolong.

Of the agriculture-based industries, tea occupies an important place in Assam. The plants used to grow naturally in the Upper Brahmaputra valley. Robert Bruce, an official of the British empire, who is credited with the discovery of tea in Assam in 1823, gave publicity of the existence of the plant, the leaves of which were boiled to prepare the tea

Assam produces the largest quantity of tea and has the largest area for the crop. In 1994, the State ha 1012 tea gardens spread over 2,27,120 hectars and produced 4,00,732,000 kg of tea with an average yield of 1764kg/ha. In Assam tea is grown both in the Brahmaputra and Barak plains.  Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Nagaon and Sonitpur are the districts where tea gardens are frequently found. Assam produces 55% of the tea produced in India and about 1/6th of the tea produced in the world. The annual turnover of  the tea industry is about Rs.1,700 crores and it has earned more than Rs.600 crores as foreign exchange.   Tea industry has contributed substantially to the economy of Assam. About 17 percent of the worker of Assam are engaged in tea industry. Many saw mills, cardboard industries, plywood factories, tin-plate and aluminium foil processing workshops have come up to cater to the demand of the tea gardens.

Oil Industry

In the 1860s sub surface oil exploration activities started in the dense jungles of Assam in north-east India and in March 1867, oil was struck in the well drilled near Makum. This was the first successful mechanically drilled well in Asia.The first commercial discovery of crude oil in the country was, however, made in 1889 at Digboi when a group of galllant oilmen erected a 20 meter high thatch covered wooden structure at the head of the Brahmaputra valley, in the extreme corner of northeastern India. This modest structure or 'derrick' had little geometric or aesthetic appeal. Nevertheless, it marked the remarkable saga of the quest for the fugitive fuel - 'petroleum', in Indian shores. The only visitors were the pachyderms, the odd jackal, snakes and a hundred thousand leeches. The environs smelt of the rain - soaked forest mingled with heavy odour of oil seepage all over and thus marked the beginning of the oil industry in India.

The discoverer of this Digboi oilfield was the Assam Railways & Trading Company Limited (AR&T Co. Ltd.), a registered company of London in 1881,with objectives to explore the rich natural resources of Upper Assam,

The earliest recorded reference of oil in Assam can be traced to Lieut. R Wilcox of the 46th Regiment Native Infantry who saw it as "… rising to the surface at Supkhong with great bubbling of gas and green petroleum…" in " Memoir of a survey of Assam and the Neighboring Countries executed in 1825-6-7-8." Asiatic Researches Vol.XVII, pp. 314 – 467.

Legend has it that an elephant working for the AR&T Co. Ltd. returned with distinct traces of oil on its trail. The excited owners of the elephant tracked its footprints and found seepage of oil bubbling to the surface.

The oilfield of DULIAJAN in ASSAM State (INDIA) has its own captive Power Station and is not connected to the national grid. Two Westinghouse Combustion Turbines of 17 MW (ISO), each were installed in 1975.

The Assam Gas Company Ltd. (AGCL), which is in natural gas transmission and distribution since 1960, also has its set up at Duliajan in the Dibrugarh district of Assam, is diversifying into gas exploration and methanol manufacture. It is also setting up two power plants.The company, one of the few profit ­ making undertakings of the State Government, has a turnover of Rs. 18 crore. But it has to depend on the public sector Oil India Ltd. (OIL) and Oil & Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) for supply of natural gas. To bring in greater independence in its functioning, AGCL has of late been toying with the idea of diversifying into gas field exploration.

The Company has its compressor station at Duliajan and supplies natural gas to commercial and domestic consumers in the adjoining areas.In addition, it caters to the requirement of 126 tea gardens of Upper Assam through hundreds of kilometers of pipelines. Supply to tea gardens by the Company had started on an experimental basis in the 1970s. Gas consumption in the tea sector now stands at 66 MMSCM per year. However, AGCL's profit after tax has stagnated between Rs. 2­2.5 crore. AGCL is setting up a 165,000­tonnes­per­annum methanol plant at Duliajan in collaboration with Allied Resine & Chemicals and the Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC). A joint sector company called Assam Methanol Ltd. has been formed for the Rs. 300 crore project.

The Kathalguri Gas Based Power Project

This Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Project of the North Eastern Electical Power Corporation( NEEPCO) is located in the Dibrugarh District of Assam. It has been partly financed by a loan of 37.272 Billion Yen under bilateral credit arrangement with the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund of Japan.It utilises natural gas available in the oil fields of Upper Assam and comprises of the following units :

  • 6 X 33.50 MW Gas Turbines      

  • 3 X 30.00 MW Steam Turbines

The Gas Turbine Units were commissioned in 1995 - 96 and 1996 - 97 while the Steam Turbine Units were commissioned in March in 1998 and July 1998

 Namrup  Fertiliser Plant:

It is located at  Parbatpur in the Dibrugarh District of Assam. Previously it was a unit of  the Hinduatan Petrochemicals Ltd but now the Govt Of India has decided to bifurcate and establish it as a separate Organisation.

Plant Location

Commissioning Date

Fertilizer Product

Product Brand Name

Plant Capacity


Process Name

Name of Process Licenser

Namrup-II (Assam)





Montecatini Total Recycle Process

Technimont Edison

Namrup-III (Assam)





PDIL Total Recycle Process




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