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AP CM to take up tobacco barn issue with Centre

Our Bureau

Visakhapatnam , Aug. 5

THE Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, has agreed to take up the issue of the recent regularisation of tobacco barns in Karnataka and its adverse impact on the State farmers with the Union Commerce Ministry in New Delhi on Friday.

According to a statement issued by Dr Y. Sivaji, President of the AP Virginia Tobacco Growers' Association, he had met the Chief Minister in Hyderabad on Thursday and apprised him of the fallout of the orders issued by the Union Commerce Ministry last week directing the Tobacco Board here to regularise nearly 30,000 unauthorised barns in Karnataka.

``We have told the Chief Minister that it is a very drastic step taken by the Commerce Ministry which will adversely affect the Andhra farmers directly and in the long run Karnataka farmers too may be hit,'' he said.

The decision of the Ministry would double the barns in Karnataka and "the directive to the board to allow 7.5 quintals for each of the newly-regularised barns also defies logic. For the old barns in Karnataka, the farmer is allowed to grow 17 quintals. Therefore, as it will not be economically viable to grow only 7 quintals per barn, the Karnataka farmers are forced to go for surplus production in the new barns.''

Dr Sivaji said this would lead to a surplus of nearly 50 million kg in Karnataka itself, which would depress the prices in both States. Besides, it would create a conflict among Karnataka farmers themselves, he argued.

Hence, he said, the AP Tobacco Growers' Association had urged the Chief Minister to prevail upon the Union Commerce Minister, Mr Kamal Nath, to keep the orders in abeyance.

"A decision can be taken only after consulting the two major producers - Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The Chief Minister has promised to do his best to protect the interests of AP farmers,'' he added.

More Stories on : Tobacco | Andhra Pradesh

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