The Kerala Congress (M) [KC(M)] has urged the Union government to address the issue of slump in the price of natural rubber.

Speaking to media persons here on Sunday, Finance Minister and party chairman K.M. Mani called for a complete ban on import of natural rubber. He said there was no need for importing rubber as production in the domestic market was sufficient to meet the present demand.

Pointing out that the import duty of Rs.20 a kg that was being levied now was responsible for the ongoing crisis, Mr. Mani proposed raising the duty to 35 per cent so as to discourage unnecessary import.

Meanwhile, Jose K. Mani, MP, submitted petitions to Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma demanding urgent measures to alleviate the problems faced by rubber growers.

In his petition, the MP said that the significant slump in the price of natural rubber had affected the livelihood of nearly 12 lakh small-scale farmers in the State. He reiterated the demand to increase the import duty of natural rubber.

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