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AIADMK cadres protest

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BACKING TEA GROWERS: Supporters of the AIADMK observing a fast in Udhagamandalam on Monday.
BACKING TEA GROWERS: Supporters of the AIADMK observing a fast in Udhagamandalam on Monday.

Special Correspondent

Udhagamandalam: Hundreds of AIADMK cadres observed a fast here on Monday to highlight the problems faced by small tea growers of the district and condemn the Government's "failure" to tackle them.

Pointing out that the industry was going through difficult times, speakers claimed that imposition of the Value Added Tax had affected the traders. Blaming the Government for the woes of the small growers, they wanted tea exempted from the VAT. During the AIADMK regime, the growers were given a subsidy. This scheme should be revived, they said. They demanded that the floor price fixed at Rs. 15 a kg of raw leaves.

Minister in-charge of the Nilgiris K. Ramachandran said in a statement that following the steps taken by the Government with the help of the Central Government, the raw leaves were fetching Rs. 10 a kg for the past few months. Efforts were on to reduce the VAT from 4 per cent to one.

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