CT Ravi meets Sitharaman, demands more relief for plantation growers


PTI, Aug 18, 2020, 4:36 PM IST

New Delhi: Karnataka Tourism Minister C T Ravi on Tuesday called on Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and demanded more relief measures, including GST exemption on crop inputs, for plantation growers of Chikkamagaluru district for sailing through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

He also called on Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju with a proposal for construction of the multi-purpose indoor stadium and laying of the synthetic athletic track at a district stadium in Chikkamagaluru.

In a representation to the Union Finance Minister, the BJP-ruled Karnataka State Minister said, “The Government of India has announced several relief measures to tide over the impact of COVID-19 which have helped the coffee industry to a little extent. But still, more to be done to overcome the situation.”

He sought relief measures at the earliest to protect the interest of coffee, areca, pepper, and cardamom growers in the district.

The state minister demanded the central government to announce a cash relief to plantation growers, grant a one-year moratorium on repayment of short-term crop loans and development loans besides restructuring the principal and unpaid interest on crop loans.

He also demanded the central government to exempt GST on fertilizers, chemicals and nutrients in the current year and increase the rate of export incentive from 3 percent to 5 per cent among others.

The minister said that these relief measures are necessary as about 15,000 coffee growers in Chikkamagaluru district, who are paying nearly Rs 1,000 crore as tax to the government, are now in severe distress and financial crisis.

Coffee growers have been in distress since the last two years due to heavy rains, floods and landslides. Now, diseases to the plants and COVID-19 pandemic have added to their woes. Moreover, the rise in cost of production and slowdown in exports has affected their income, he added.

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