News Karnataka
Tuesday, April 23 2024

Bengaluru: Siddu slams Centre for permitting arecanut import

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Photo Credit : IANS

Bengaluru: State’s Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah on Thursday October 6 slammed the Central Government’s decision to import green arecanut from Bhutan, saying that due to the “ill-willed policy, the life of areca nut growers will be doomed.”

The arecanut growers are already in distress because of various diseases attacking the crop and areca trees. During this difficult hour, the Central Government has betrayed them, he said.

The notification giving unconditional consent to the purchase of 17,000 metric tons of raw areca nut from Bhutan will prove costly and affect the livelihood of local areca nut growers, he said, adding that while the state areca nut farmers are agitating for a total ban on imports, the Centre has exhibited its “unilateral and arbitrary approach”.

“The Union Government, which has adopted an egoistic approach towards farmers, has not even laid down conditions for the specified minimum import price (MIP) and shown green signal for import of areca nut from Bhutan. The Central Government has also indicated more imports from different countries in future,” Siddaramaiah said.

“I had warned when the Central Government brought down excise tax on imported arecanuts and increased the GST on indigenous arecanuts. I had also prevailed upon the State Government to make the Union Government understand the situation of arecanut farmers. However, it is proved that the ‘probationary’ Chief Minister (Basavaraj Bommai) does not have capacity to talk to the Central Government on farmers’ woes,” he added.

Noting that the farmers of Malnad (hilly) region have complained about the State and Central Governments turning blind eye to their plight, he said that their worst fears have come true now, and the decision to import 17,000 tons of arecanut from Bhutan is the height of betrayal.

Siddaramaiah said that Home Miniister Araga Jnanendra, who heads the Task Force formed to look into the woes of arecanut farmers, is maintaining that imports will have no bearing. “The Government and the Home Minister do not have common sense that these things won’t solve the crisis of farmers,” he said.

He also noted that the BJP’s Karnataka President, National and State General Secretaries hail from regions where arecanut farming is taken up on large scale but have not responded and the MLAs and MPs of the districts where the crop is grown are also tightlipped.

All are colluding to write the death warrant of arecanut farmers, Siddaramaiah alleged, demanding that the consent given to imports from Bhutan must be immediately reversed, GST on arecanuts reduced, and the State Government should exert pressure on the Centre in this regard.

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