Plea to suspend auctions in Karnataka
The Tobacco Farmers Associations' Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Guntur and Prakasam districts has appealed to Tobacco Board chairman G Kamalavardhan Rao to set up a committee to ascertain the Cost of Production (CoP) of tobacco in all growing areas so that it serves as a benchmark for price fixation at the auction platforms.
The committee also requested the Board chairman to suspend auctions in Karnataka where the authorized crop of 97 million kilos was already sold and to take up auctioning in Andhra Pradesh before resuming purchasing of the excess crop in Karnataka.
Besides, action should be taken against the traders who renege on their commitment (given to Tobacco Board) to buy a specified quantity of tobacco from the farmers, JAC demanded in a meeting with the Board chairman on Tuesday.
In response to their demands, Mr. Kamalavardhan Rao said he would set up the committee in a few days and seek its report (on CoP) in a couple of weeks. Another meeting of the Board officials, tobacco growers, traders and other stakeholders would be held soon to sort out other issues.
The JAC has also demanded that the State government cooperative societies be allowed to participate in auctions to facilitate purchase of tobacco at competitive prices. Creation of a Price Stabilization Fund by the Board and allowing foreign direct investment in cigarette manufacturing are two significant long - term measures demanded by the JAC.
Virginia Tobacco Growers Association honorary president Y Sivaji, JAC leaders Ch Seshaiah, K.V. Subba Rao, Ch Ramanaiah Naidu, V Venkateswara Rao, VVS Rama Rao and others were present.