'NDA govt responsible for row over arecanut'

BJP is levelling false allegations against UPA govt, alleges Congress

District Congress Committee Publicity wing President A N Mahesh has accused that the NDA government was responsible for the move on ban on arecanut. A report submitted by an expert committee constituted by the NDA said that there are evidences to show that chewing arecanut is carcinogenic.  However, now the BJP is engaged in levelling allegations against the UPA government. 

Addressing a press meet, he said that report submitted by the committee was responsible for ban on gutka.  The committee was constituted to look into the production, demand, price details.

“The report submitted by the committee during the NDA rule states that there are evidences to prove that it is carcinogenic and therefore there is always a risk of discontinuation of such intoxicants due to awareness of health consciousness among the consumers. The then Campco president S R Rangamurthy, Akhila Bharatha Areca Growers Association President Dr P K S Bhat were part of the committee of experts. 

The committee report had stated, “now is the time to decide whether we should continue to increase the quality of a produce which can not be utilised other than chewing purpose or to divert this valuable land for production of crops which can contribute to the food and nutrition security of people or export earnings. Since the arecanut is reported to be carcinogenic, may be in future with growing awareness of health hazards, its usage may be restricted.

The committee discourages the new area expansion under arecanut,” the report stated. However, the BJP leaders are levelling false allegations that the UPA government has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court seeking ban on arecanut. 

The previous BJP government has also failed to implement pro- arecaut growers programmes. Majority of the recommendations of Gorak Singh committee has been fulfilled by the government, he said.  Union Minister for Health Gulab Nabi Azad has clarified that arecanut will not be banned in the country. Under Vidharbha package, the union government has waived off loans borrowed by the arecanut growers in Chikmagalur.  

Compensation of Rs 7.85 crore has been disbursed among 16,004 arecanut growers, who have incurred loss following fruit rot disease in the district. 

He said that Kadur has been included in the list drought hit taluk. The government has released Rs 70 lakh for taking up relief work. The DC has submitted a proposal seeking release of Rs two crore to take up relief work. 

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