23/03/2008 (The Hindu) Thiruvananthapuram - Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Friday called upon the Central government to withdraw the cut in import duty of palm oil.
The Chief Minister said in a statement here that the Centre had brought down the import duty on palm oil and other edible oils from 45 per cent to 20 per cent.
The duty on refined palmolein had been reduced at one go from 52.5 per cent to 27.5 per cent. This would hit the coconut farmers of the State. The Centre had been burdening the coconut farmers repeatedly.
Mr. Achuthanandan recalled this was the fifth time that the import duty on palm oil had been cut.
The cut announced the other day was the steepest. The duty on palm oil was 99.4 per cent in July 2006.
He said a ban on the export of coconut oil along with reduction in duty of other edible oils was a grave injustice.
There was no shortage for coconut oil in the State. The exports were mainly for the overseas Keralites. Hence, the decision would cause difficulties to overseas Keralites and hit the coconut oil market.
He said that while the Centre trumpeted the farm loan waiver, it was pushing the farmers into debt trap permanently through its liberalisation policies.
All should protest against this, cutting across political lines.
Special ration quota
Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran urged the Centre to restore the State’s quota of public distribution system (PDS) grains and sanction special quotas in view of the natural calamities in the State.
In a fax message to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Mr. Divakaran said that Kerala faced large scale loss in paddy production and consequent economic loss on account of the heavy rain in Kuttanad, Alappuzha, Kottayam and Thrissur districts. Ripe paddy in hundreds of acres had been lost.