KARNATAKA

`Woes of arecanut growers far from over'

SHIMOGA, AUG. 14. Araga Jnanendra, Tirthahalli MLA, said here on Saturday that the woes of arecanut growers were far from over even after the Supreme Court had ordered that the ban on gutka and pan masala in some States be lifted.

Fluctuating prices and diseases afflicting areca palms had put the growers in difficulty, he said.

Speaking at a function organised by the Malenadu Areca Marketing Cooperative Society to felicitate newly elected MPs and MLAs from the arecanut-growing areas, he called for sustained political lobbying to safeguard the interests of areca growers.

Research

Mr. Jnanendra also stressed the need to conduct research on the ingredients of gutka to find out which of them were injurious to health.

Noting that announcing a minimum support price for gutka would help the growers, he promised that he would convince the Government about the need to remove the turnover tax on leading arecanut growers as well as organisations involved in marketing the crop.

Nagaraj Shetty, Bantwal MLA, said the Agriculture Minister, K. Srinivasa Gowda, had promised that the Government would shortly announce the minimum support price for arecanut.

Research centre

Jeevaraj, Sringeri MLA, said the cooperative society should set up a research centre near Sringeri to control the pests affecting the areca plantations in the area.

The other MLAs who were felicitated on the occasion were M.P. Kumaraswamy (Mudigere), Gopalakrishna Beluru (Sagar), G. Basavanna (Holehonnur), and M.P. Renukaradhya (Honnali).

L.T. Thimmappa Hegde, former MLA and president of the Sagar Prantya Adike Belegarara Sangh, was present.

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