Delegation of MPs from State to meet Modi on the issue

Minister of State for Civil Aviation G.M. Siddeshwar has said that a delegation of MPs from Karnataka will soon meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him of the problems being faced by arecanut growers.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had written to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in September 2013 to examine scientific evidences regarding harmful effects of arecanut on human health with a view to classify it as an injurious substance and prohibit its use as an ingredient in any food product. The Union government had then apprised the Supreme Court over this issue in a case related to banning the sale of gutka in plastic sachets.

Following these developments, there were rumours that the Centre would ban arecanut cultivation. The delegation would request the Prime Minister to clear the apprehensions of arecanut growers and instil confidence among them, Mr. Siddeshwar said at a programme organised by the Karnataka Areca Chamber of Commerce here on Saturday.

He said the issue of implementation of the recommendations of the Gorakh Singh panel would also be discussed. The panel had recommended to the government to extend loans to arecanut growers who were in financial crisis owing to pest and fungal infections in the plantations, he said.

The recommendations of the K. Kasturirangan panel had led to apprehension among growers in the Malnad region that restrictions would be imposed on arecanut cultivation.

He said the Union government was committed to protecting the interests of arecanut growers.

Shimoga MP and former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Channagiri MLA Vadnal Rajanna, and president of the Karnataka Areca Chamber of Commerce H. Omkarappa were present.

More In: Karnataka | National