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Tobacco cultivation sees growth

Jeevan Chinnappa

— Photo: M.A. Sriram

A view of a tobacco plantation near Hunsur in Mysore district.

Mysore: Much against the stipulation that tobacco cultivation should be brought down in the country by 50 per cent by 2020, before eventually being phased out, tobacco cultivation in the State has grown in terms of cultivation area and productivity.

Statistics show that despite the World Trade Organisation agreement to which India is the signatory, tobacco cultivation has increased in the State in the last five years.

Now, the Tobacco Board is set to crack the whip against unregistered growers. As against 57,000 registered barns (curing units) in the State, there are 42,000 unauthorised barns, according to K.N. Vishakantaiah, Regional Manager, Tobacco Board.

Mr. Vishakantaiah said the board levied a fine of Rs. 2 per kg of unauthorised tobacco sold in the market, apart from a penalty of 15 per cent of the sale proceedings as service charge.

This would go up, he told The Hindu. Service charge on registered growers is just 1 per cent.An increase in demand for the product in the international market during 2007-08 and 2008-09 was responsible for the spurt in production in India. In 2010-11, the board fixed a production target of 100 million kg for the State, but 128 million bags were produced. .

The board had already taken a decision to issue RTCs to registered growers to weed out the unregistered ones.

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