Despite the importance that betel leaves have in every religious ceremony in Mysore, betel leaf cultivators in the district have been largely mired in poverty.

In this regard, Nalwudi Krishnaraja Wadiyar Mahasamsthe expressed its support for betel leaf farmers, here on Sunday.

Demand

It sought the State Government's protection for the cultivators as well as the land on which the leaves were cultivated.

The mahasamsthe pointed out that betel leaves in Mysore enjoyed the same reputation as other produce of the State such as Mysore Mallige, Erengere Badanekai, Nanjangud Rasabale, Sone Avarekai and Chiguru Villadelle.

The mahasamsthe complained that the Department of Agriculture and Horticulture had failed to promote or protect the interests of the betel leaf farmers.

It urged the Mysore City Corporation and the Mysore Urban Development Authority to prevent any acquisition of land on which betel leaves were cultivated to protect the section.

The mahasamsthe also drew attention to the fact that a majority of beetle leaf cultivators were Dalits.

The mahasamsthe said it would launch a public awareness programme on the need to conserve the betel leaf for posterity.

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