Centre to address tobacco growers’ issues within 20 days

New Delhi:The Federation for All India Farmer Association (FAIFA) on Tuesday said the Union Health Ministry has assured the tobacco growers that their concerns will be addressed over a span of 20 days.

The association also said that according to the ministry, the decisions taken at the ongoing World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) Conference of the Parties (COP 7) is only suggestive and not binding.

Additional Health Secretary Arun Panda on Monday met tobacco farmers at the Greater Noida police station, after the latter were detained for protesting at the venue of the ongoing WHO FCTC COP 7.

According to a statement issued by FAIFA, the Additional Health Secretary has assured them that Health Minister J.P. Nadda was concerned about the issues of stringent anti-tobacco policies faced by the tobacco farmers.

“The farmers also expressed their displeasure with the disinterest shown by the government in the past as far as the livelihood issues and the problems faced by them are concerned. The farmers reiterated that since the Health Minister has not responded to their appeals for appointment for the past one year, they are not hopeful if the government would act now,” said the statement.

Panda met the farmers at the police station after the inauguration of the WHO FCTC COP7 by Nadda.

“While we are happy that the government has indicated that they are aware of the problems being faced by tobacco farmers, it is sad that the government remained unmoved for over a year. We are waiting to see what Dr. Panda brings to the table after 20 days,” said B.V. Javare Gowda, the FAIFA President.