Port Blair, Dec 08: Mr. Vishal Jolly, National Executive Member- BJP yesterday met Mrs. Shobha Karandlaje, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Affairs, Government of India, at New Delhi and made a specific request to remove “Arecanut (Supari)” from the framework of GST and to declare the same as State Crop in A & N Islands.
Mr. Jolly highlighted that Arecanut i.e Supari is a major agricultural produce that 80% of the farmers in A & N Islands grow and sell. These farmers are totally dependent upon the growth and Sale of the same and the Agricultural economy of our Islands is largely dependent upon Supari.
He further pointed out that Andaman & Nicobar Islands is prone to cyclones and we face heavy rain around 8-9 months approximately, in a year. Most of the cyclonic depression originates from our region and weather conditions largely don’t remain suitable for our farmers due to the aforementioned climatic conditions.
Farmers suffer severe loss and damage of crops due to such weather conditions and Arecanut not being a State Crop, they don’t get any compensation for the damaged crops.
Apart from that, our farmers pay heavy Goods and Sales Tax (GST) on Dried Arecanut which further deepens their agony.
Arecanut is something on which 80% of our famer’s families depend which comprises at least 1.5 to 2 lakhs i.e around 40% of the total population of our Islands.
Considering these facts & circumstances, Shri Jolly earnestly requested the Minister to declare Arecanut (Supari) as our State Crop and also remove the same from the scope and ambit of GST, in the larger interest of farmers of our Islands.
The Minister took serious note of the issues pointed out by Mr. Vishal Jolly and assured that all positive steps in this regard would be taken at the earliest.