Govt to encourage alternative cultivation: Minister

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Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Mar 23 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh today said the government had decided to encourage tobacco farmers to take up alternative cultivation.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Ramesh said the Centre had drawn up a ten-year action plan for the purpose under which it will provide financial assistance for cultivation of crops like bengal gram.

The Minister also disclosed the Union Government had sanctioned a Rs 1000 crore Tobacco Growers Relief Package Programme for helping farmers hit by cyclone and other natural calamities.

Mr Ramesh said the Tobacco Board should function for the benifit of the tobacco growers and instil confidence in them.

This came as a response to the tobacco growers complaint that the board was adopting trader-friendly attitude and apathetic to their woes and problems.

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