Representatives of arecanut growers’ organisations have expressed displeasure over the State government’s decision to ban gutka “in a hasty manner”.
Narasimha Naik, vice-president of Malnad Arecanut Marketing Cooperative Society (Mamcos), told The Hindu that the government should have consulted the arecanut growers before taking the decision.
He said that, the decision would not have a major impact on the price of arecanut. Only a small quantity of locally grown arecanut was used for manufacturing gutka. There may be slump in the price of the arecanut for a short period. The prices of arecanut are sensitive to policy decisions. After the Union government increased the import duty on arecanut from Rs. 75 to Rs. 110, the price of locally grown rashi idi, api varieties of arecanut had increased. Owing to the decision to ban gutka, farmers may sell the arecanut at their disposal in panic. Arecanut traders and middlemen may use this situation to their advantage, he said.
Kankodi Padmanabha, president of Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (Campco) Limited said that prior to taking a decision on banning gutka, the government could have formed a committee to study its impact on the price of arecanut. “The State government had time till July 13 to submit compliance report to the Supreme Court on banning gutka. It has acted in a hasty manner,” he told presspersons here on Friday.
He said the Union government should immediately impose ban arecanaut import. The low quality arecanut imported from Thailand and Bangladesh was used for manufacturing gutka owing to which the demand as well as the price of locally grown arecanut had come down.
President of the Karnataka State Cooperative Apex Bank R.M. Manjunatha Gowda told presspersons that the government should immediately announce minimum support price for arecanut if there is a crash in its price owing to the ban.
The former MLA Araga Jnanendra who is also an arecanut grower has said that prior to banning gutka, the government could have popularised alternative uses of arecanut. He said at a press conference here that the government could have taken a decision on banning gutka after taking the opinion of health experts on its adverse impact on health.