TDP district convener and Mylavaram MLA Devineni Umamaheswara Rao has demanded that Chief Minister K. Rosaiah convene a review meeting immediately to discuss the issue of ensuring remunerative price of tobacco and to actively purchase the produce, with the farmers, traders and Tobacco Board officials.

Mr. Rao earlier paid a visit to Keesara auction platform near Nandigama and interacted with the farmers and officials of the Tobacco Board.

He alleged that the traders and exporters had formed into a syndicate to discourage purchases at auction while they were promoting purchases through middlemen in a bid to deny good price to the farmers this year too. Adding to these fears, it was reported that only 49 million kg of tobacco was purchased at auctions as against the requirement of 222 million kg so far.

Mr. Rao said that the officials of the Tobacco Board were keeping mum on the issue even as the exporters were discouraging purchases on the pretext that there were no sufficient orders from abroad. The Chief Minister should step in and ensure a better deal to the farmers. The TDP would not keep silent and it would agitate for protecting the interests of farmers.

Mr. Rao also demanded that Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal make public the reported threats issued by the people involved in sand “syndicates” to tehsildars recently. It was said that the tehsildars received threats from the sand syndicates if they spoke out against what was happening in quarrying, he said.

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