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Panel takes note of tobacco growers' problems

By Our Staff Correspondent

MYSORE Sept. 11. The convener of the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Commerce, Tarit Baran Topdar, has said that the demands of tobacco growers in Karnataka are genuine and they will be included in the report to be submitted to Parliament.

Mr. Topdar told presspersons here on Thursday that the subcommittee was looking into the problems of tobacco farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and it would place its report before Parliament during the winter session. Tobacco grown in the Mysore region was of a special variety as its nicotine content was low. So, it had a good demand both in India and abroad.

Mr. Topdar said the subcommittee would deal with tobacco farmers' problems regarding barns and unauthorised cultivation of tobacco. The subcommittee, although only a recommendatory body, would offer solutions to the problems in its report. The social aspect of the farmers' plight would also be considered, he said.

Regarding allegations that the Tobacco Board was favouring the farmers of Andhra Pradesh while fixing crop size, he said he would not like to comment on the issue. The subcommittee would look into the controversy over the alleged disparity. "If allegations of bias are made against the subcommittee, I will deny it."

Regarding the cultivation of unauthorised tobacco, he said it was prevalent, but nobody had tried to stop it. A significant trend the subcommittee had observed was that despite anti-tobacco campaigns all over the world, tobacco remained an important crop.

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