BJP, Cong spar over health min's statement on areca

BJP, Cong spar over health min's statement on areca

Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey’s written reply in parliament that arecanut causes health problem has triggered mudslinging between leaders of Congress and BJP in Shivamogga district, one of the largest producers of arecanut in the state.

On the one hand, BJP leaders said that it was the UPA-led government at the Centre which submitted an affidavit before the Supreme Court in 2011 that arecanut was injurious to health.

The Modi-led government at the Centre is all set to submit a fresh affidavit based on the reports of the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute in Vittla, Dakshina Kannada district, in favour of arecanut use before the Supreme Court. Till then, the Health ministry has to rely on the old affidavit, they said.

Leaders of the Congress have dared the BJP leaders to release a copy of the affidavit submitted by the UPA government before the Supreme Court in 2011. They also charged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given only false promises to arecanut growers of the state. 

Karnataka produces four lakh tonnes of arecanut. Shivamogga district has areca plantation on 52,000 hectares of land. Around 75,000 tonnes of arecanut is being produced in the district every year.

MP’s take

Shimoga MP B Y Raghavendra has stated that no research institute in the country has come out with any research report that the consumption of arecanut alone is injurious to health. Central Plantation Crops Research Institute based in Kasaragodu, Kerala, has clearly pointed out that there is no evidence to prove that arecanut is injurious to health. He urged the Centre to stop the import of substandard of arecanut.