Friday, Nov 28, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
Addressing the press here on Thursday at the office of the Federation of Farmers Associations, tobacco farmers from West Godavari, Guntur, East Godavari, Prakasam and Khammam districts said that the total amount received by farmers for their crop was approximately Rs. 750 crores, while exporters earned Rs. 1,000 crores from it and the Government received Rs. 8,000 crores as tax.
Moreover, production cost ranged from Rs. 38 to Rs. 45 per kg while the minimum support price hovered at Rs. 30 per kg.
They also pointed out that this year 130 million kg of tobacco was being produced in AP as against a quota of 112 million kg. Similarly in Karnataka production was in excess of 33 million kg.
In this situation there were about 20 billion sticks of cigarettes being smuggled into the country which was equal to 20 million kg of raw tobacco.
They appealed to the Government to crack down on cigarette smuggling and increase the farmers' quota by an equal amount.
This smuggling was also resulting in a loss of revenue of about Rs. 2,000 crores.
They also took exception to the Government's permission to import foreign brands which are not produced from Indian tobacco and asked for imposition of 150 per cent import duty which was permitted under the WTO rules.
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