Deepak Atal (Amalgamated Plantations Pvt. Ltd.)
Photograph by: Rajesh Sanap.
Month Year: December 2012
Special Wind Under the Wings Award
Amalgamated Plantations Pvt. Ltd. and its innovative Managing Director, Deepak Atal for their inspiring decision to convert a plantation in Assam into the organic Hathikuli Tea Estate.
A special Wind Under the Wings Award goes out to a most unusual recipient... Amalgamated Plantations Private Ltd. (APPL), a Tata Group Company, which manages the heritage Hathikuli Tea Estate, led by Managing Director, Deepak Atal. The company, supported by its management and shareholders, took the farsighted internal decision to turn its plantation, located in the Golghat district in Assam, into an organic estate; a step that took courage, and financial staying power since initial losses, mainly on account of lower yields and crop losses to pests (until secondary predators, see images below, were able to bring pests under control naturally), were high. This project exemplified the company’s ethos of Corporate Passion beyond the call of Corporate Financial Governance.
Today, however, the health of their tea bushes has dramatically improved: pepper yields are rising and soil biodiversity has shown a dramatic jump. Significantly, the health of their own large workforce (they own 20 per cent of the shares of Hathikuli), has improved. The estate has its own compost production unit with an annual production of 1,100 MT/year. Hathikuli has won the grudging admiration of its competitors too, many of whom have begun emulating their example, albeit tentatively.
The real beneficiaries, of course, have been the rhinos, elephants, wild buffaloes, tigers and the entire gamut of bird and aquatic life of Kaziranga. This is because this low-lying Brahmaputra wilderness has now been spared the assault of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, which are anathema to the health of biodiversity.
For this, we honour Deepak Atal and Amalgmated Plantations Private Ltd.
First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol XXXII No. 6, December 2012.