Tobacco growers to protest against bigger pictorial warning on packs

New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) The Federation of All India Farmers Association will on Wednesday protest against implementation of the 85 percent pictorial warnings on packets of all tobacco products.

During the protest, tobacco growers from various parts of India will march towards parliament from the Press Club of India.

“We are protesting as the government is not paying heed to our repeated requests to roll back the 85 percent pictorial warning on the packets of tobacco products, which has affected the sale of tobacco we grow,” said federation member Murali Babu.

He said they will also present a memorandum to the prime minister and health minister, urging them to roll back the 85 percent pictorial warning, and also to include tobacco farmers during policy-making against tobacco products.

“We want the government to include us in the policy-making, so that we can at least tell them the way we are getting affected due to the pictorial warnings on the tobacco products,” Babu told IANS.

The 85 percent pictorial warning was implemented from April 1, despite a parliamentary committee recommendation that the warnings be brought down to 50 percent of the package surface area, saying 85 percent will be too harsh on the tobacco industry.

Tobacco crop worth approximately Rs.1,200 crore is lying unsold in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh due to a shutdown on production by cigarette companies after the new pictorial warning came into force.

India earns Rs.6,000 crore from tobacco exports every year.

–IANS

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