The estate lies a few kilometres away from the ‘defence’ town of Tezpur, on a bouncy road to Balipara, with ‘Jorashor’ river dividing its two divisions of Addabarie and Balipare on the east, Haruchurah on the south, Sessa on the west and the majestic, snow-capped Himalayan peaks over-looking the garden in the north, and this gives an unforgettable picturesque character to the estate. On a clear winter morning the view on the Northern side gives a wonderfully refreshing view to an ever-busy Planter’s view.

It is amply clear that the first bushes were planted around 1850 by some very energetic planters, who braved the wild, climate and disease to give us today the most refreshing drink. As an ancient quote on benefits of tea drinking goes,

“One cup in the morning sets the spirit cheering

And opens the untapped thoughts,

One cup after meals drives worry away,

Once cup after your day is done

Will make the bones and muscles feel lighter,

And dissolve your fatigue,

Tea will add years and the enjoyment of you

Longevity.”

It was on 13.6.1892, that the company changed hands from the then owners “The Agra Bank Limited” of Nicholas Lane, London, to the British Assam Tea Company Limited of No. 3 East India Avenue, London. The sale was completed for 30,000 pounds for Addabarie and Balipara Assam Tea Company. The sale included “all and every land and landed property in any way attached, the Bungalows, Tea Houses, Godowns, Out offices and the other erections and Buildings, Machinery & Plants, Implements, Carts, Bullocks, Horses,  Boats, Elephants and the other live or dead stock.”

The estate still has an old section of tea, which as per records, was planted in the year 1887. Till the year 1961 – two estates of Balipara and Addabarie existed separately under totally different Management.

Mr. N. H. Archar, who retired in 1960 from Balipara estate, did a lot of work to bring the estate to its present state.  A separate factory existed at Balipara. Mr. J.S. D. Waghharn, who succeeded Mr. Archar, was there for a very short duration and it was during his tenure that Balipara merged with Addabarie. Balipara is still called “Buragaon” by the old timers as it was probably referred to by that name in early days. Mr. M. C. Bishop took over as the Manager of Addabarie at the time of this merger.

Thereafter the factory at Balipara was dismantled.

It was then that Mr. R.A. Eastment, who later became the Visiting Agent of “McLeod Russell” took over the Management on a transfer from Helem T.E. The profits were low and Addabarie was said to have been in doldrums till the man who architecture the Addabarie of today, Mr. Ashok Kaul, took over the sliding profits base in 1968. On 26th November, 1970 an excellent deal was made between Harchurah T.E. of Bighas – 5 Kathas – 19 Lassas, measuring 93.34 hectares of prime virgin land at a nominal price of Rs. 1,42,245/- (Rupees One Lakh Forty Two Thousand Two Hundred Forty Five Only) These areas were put under plantations and today forms the nucleus of the success story of 25 quintals per hectare of yield of the estate. These areas now called the “Harchurah Extension” are partly on slopes and a bridge called “Ashok Bridge” made to connect the 2 slides means a lot to the other generation of the work force who have seen it grow with efforts of the Management and the workers.

In 1972 the “ BUrra Bungalow” burnt down.

It was then the existing Bungalow was built on the foundation and legacy of the old building.

On 1st January, 1977, the British Assam Tea Company amalgamated with McLeod Russel (India) Limited. By then the garden was well consolidated and 1321 hectares of land was transferred to the company. In 1987/88 McLeod Russel (India) Limited became part of the Macneill & Magor Group, which following the 125 years in Tea in 1994, reverted to its erstwhile name of Williamson Magor & Co. Ltd.

Although all round development work had already commenced, the estate had its share of its “Wild” stories. Incidents of workers being killed by the wild cats, though few, were happening. Mr. Bishop shot 2 tigers in one night on his way back from the club. An immense amount of work has been done in recent years with regard to labour houses, line sanitation, water supply, medical facilities and general well being of labourers. Leaf haulage was done by trolleys pushed by men, tracks of which are visible even today.

The workers lives have not changed much, they are doing the same old practice of tea cultivation though with certain improvements. The value of money has gone down. The older folks were happy when they could purchase 16kgs of rice with Re. 1/-. The salaries have increased, so has the cost of living. Today “Addabarie” boasts of a large workforce of approx. 2,600 workers and population of 6,400. The factory buildings, houses, bungalows, roads, all have seen a sea change in these years. Today it produces quality tea and is one of the large producing estates of the Company. The dream of the initial Planter of the nineteenth century seems to have been achieved. Tea has brought prosperity to the owners and provides employment to a large section of the population whether directly or indirectly.

The dream that we have for tomorrow would be achieved with greater vision and transparency in thoughts. “ADDABARIE” would be heaven in the years to come.

 

 

Wild Mahseer
Balipara Division
Addabarie Tea Estate
P.O Lokra, Sonitpur
Balipara, Assam, 784101, India

Mumbai:
        +91 2267 060861

For reservations and enquiries contact:

Kenrick Ferns

        +91 98336 31377

wildmahseer@gmail.com

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