Penalty on unauthorised tobacco reduced

The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has decided to reduce the penalty on unauthorised tobacco for the season 2021-22, providing relief to thousands of tobacco farmers in the State.

The Government has authorised Tobacco Board to levy a penalty of 5% on the proceeds of the sale and ₹1 per kg of tobacco on the produce cultivated in excess of the authorised quota as well as the tobacco cultivated by unregistered growers.

Earlier, a penalty of 10% of the proceeds and ₹2 for every kg of unauthorised tobacco was levied.

Pratap Simha, Mysuru MP, who had appealed to the Union Commerce Secretary to reduce the penalty, argued that tobacco was cultivated in rain-fed areas and its yield depended on the climatic conditions. He said it was not possible for the farmers to estimate the yield and control the output.

Thousands of farmers in the region are dependent on the tobacco crop, he said while making out a case for reduction of penalty on unauthorised tobacco.

The Government’s decision to reduce the penalty is expected to help 11,000 farmers, who had cultivated tobacco in 26,000 barns, he said.

In Karnataka, tobacco is cultivated mostly in Mysuru district and parts of neighbouring Hassan district. The Tobacco Board has restricted the tobacco crop to 97 million kg in Karnataka this year and fixed 1,750 kg for every barn.

The tobacco grown in excess of the barn size by farmers possessing tobacco cultivation license is considered unauthorised and become liable for levy of penalty. Similiarly, the entire produce of tobacco cultivated by farmers without a license is also regarded as unauthorised and attracts a penalty.

The auction of tobacco for the season 2021-22, which began in September last year, is expected to continue till February-March 2022 by when the harvested tobacco is auctioned.

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Printable version | May 25, 2022 7:11:08 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/penalty-on-unauthorised-tobacco-reduced/article38289149.ece