Tobacco growers get reprieve on RTC

MP H Vishwanath chairing a meeting of tobacco growers at Tobacco Board office, in Mysore on Saturday. Director of Auction Manju P Pillai, Tobacco Board members Abu Ahmed, Shivanna and others are seen. DH Photo

In what could be a reprieve for tobacco growers, they are allowed to secure RTC up to the time of auction, besides growing the produce without any restrictions, and continue with the inputs.

This was decided at a meeting of tobacco growers from Hunsur, Periyapatna, H D Kote and Ramanathapura convened at Tobacco Board in the city, on Saturday.

Reading out the decisions, MP H Vishwanath said that the growers can obtain RTC of their lands till September, the period of auction.

He appealed to the Director of Auction of the Board Manju P Pillai who was also present at the meeting, to arrange for a meeting of Tobacco Board Chairman and Deputy Commissioner in the second week of June.

The MP said, as there are different woes from several quarters of growers, the chairman of the board will be the suitable person to discuss the issue with the officers concerned. He said when compared to 57,000 authorised growers (licencee) there are 42,000 unauthorised growers.

Earlier in her address, Pillai exhorted the growers to comply with the cap of harvesting tobacco within certain hectares of land, besides securing RTC for licence. It’s high time the growers take a bold step to check the growth of tobacco, to fulfil Geneva accord signed by the Government of India.

 According to the pact, India vouches to get rid of tobacco cultivation by 2020. However, she assured that there will be certain relaxations given for the benefit of growers, without forcing them to adhere to the norms in one go.

Tobacco growers present at the meeting put forth varied opinions. While one sought for making RTC compulsory besides restricting the produce to two-and-half acres, another sought for bringing down the ceiling to one acre.

 Likewise there were varied opinions, but majority favoured RTC, to streamline the cultivation that is also hit by irregularities.

MP R Dhruvanarayan, MLAs H P Manjunath, M Chikkanna and A Manju, Tobacco Board Members Abu Ahmed, Kodi V Papanna, Mahadevappa and Shivanna were present.

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