MLC K. Monappa Bhandary and Senior Congress leader B. Janardhana Poojary condemned a move by officials of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to classify arecanut as a substance injurious to health.

Mr. Poojary said elected representatives should unite in the fight against any move to ban arecanut.

Taking exception to a letter by an official of the ministry to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India on September 6, 2013 in this regard, Mr. Bhandary claimed there was no proof that arecanut caused serious health hazards. Mr. Bhandary, in a release, claimed that the Cancer Biology Laboratory, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi has clarified that arecanut does not cause cancer.

He alleged that the move to ban arecanut indicated that the Union government had bowed to the pressure by the cigarette lobby. The move also showed that the Union government does not have concern for arecanut growers, he said.

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