Tobacco Board not to reduce rate: Minister

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Mysore, Nov 9 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh today said the Tobacco Board would not reduce the existing low-grade tobacco rate of Rs 50 in Karnataka this year.

Inaugurating an e-auction platfrom at Hunsur in the State, the Minister said such facilities were available for the tobacco growers in Karnataka.

Mr Ramesh said following an increase in tobacco prices the export has come down. However, the board would ensure maximum prices to attract the exporters, he added.

He said the Board Chairman Suresh Babu would visit China for the purpose and after his return the tobacco price might be enhanced.

The Minister said the Government was planning to establish a 'Welfare Fund' for the tobacco growers in Karnataka and collect Rs 1000 from them and the Government would also contribute Rs 2000 for the funds.

He said Rs 15 crore would be collected for the purpose and it would be utilised for the growers irrigation, health and social security purposes.

Referring to the fertiliser subsidy for the growers, the Minister said he would consult with the Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Chemicals Minister Ram Vilas Paswan before taking suitable steps.

The power problem confronts not only Karnataka but all over India, he added.

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