Tobacco laws under fire

Published: Friday 15 July 1994

-- While the anti-tobacco lobby in India is euphoric about the government's proposed ban on tobacco advertisements in the country (Down To Earth, Vol 3 No 3), Members of Parliament from Andhra Pradesh have strongly opposed the move. A delegation of MPs and All India Congress Committee (AICC) members has told the Prime Minister that the proposed legislation would adversely affect the state's economy. The delegation complained that neither the health ministry nor any other government department had bothered to consult the Andhra Pradesh government before preparing the draft legislation.

According to a press note issued by AICC member K Bala Subba Rao, the delegation informed the PM that in many areas of the state, the conversion to alternate crops could only be a long-term objective. Restrictions on the tobacco industry would adversely affect the farmers who have made heavy investments in obtaining the infrastructure for tobacco cultivation, they added. The delegation also pointed out that tobacco is the main cash crop of the state and its primary export item. Tobacco cultivation in Andhra pradesh covers over 107,000 hectares and the tobacco industry provides employment to 6 million people. Restrictive legislation would thus harm the interests of the state, they added.

The delegation has requested a meeting of farmer leaders, MPs and AICC members to discuss the proposals.

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