Sericulturists hope against hope

They expect that govt will revoke duty-cut on imported silk

Reelers dependent on sericulture are now left in lurch. DH PHOTO

About 70,000 families thar are dependent on sericulture are unable to make two ends meet.

Import duty on the silk has been reduced to 5 per cent from 31 per cent. Rubbing salt into the wounds, the government has decided to allow duty-free import of 2,500 matric tonnes of silk every year.  

“The impact was such that cocoon price was slashed drastically. A kilogram of cocoon that would fetch Rs 425 was reduced to Rs 325. Today, the market price of the cocoon (per kg) stands at Rs 225. If it continues, the plight of sericulturists would be hard to imagine,” Zilla Reshme Krishikara Hitarakshana Vedike co-ordinator Yaluvahalli Sonnegowda told Deccan Herald.

“We had warned the government against taking any such decision. We had brought the issue to the notice of the local representatives too. But the government chose to neglect our pleas, placing the lives of thousands of families at risk,” he added.

The government’s decision to allow import of 2,500 matric tonnes of silk has invited lot of criticisms from the sericulturists. “Severe protests against it has now forced the government to revisit its decision. But it has not withdrawn the decision yet,” he said.

He was happy that protests by sericulturists gained momentum in the State as well in other States too.

Ministers who responded positively to the protests have backed the cause. But till now, no decision has been taken, complain sericulturists.

Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily who visited Chikkaballapur recently, received memoranda by the farmers seeking to exert pressure on the Union government to rethink on latter’s decision.

Responding to their plea, Moily said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had promised to withdraw the decision with regard to silk, after the elections in five States.

With no relief forthcoming, sericulturists have said that any further delay in reviewing the duty cut and duty-free import of silk would only worsen their plight.

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