The tobacco growers of the district have decided to petition the State Government to reconsider its ban on the production, storage, distribution and sale of chewable tobacco products. Growers allege that the ban has taken a toll on the livelihood of several families. An official of Food Safety and Drug Administration department told that several tobacco farmers from the district have decided to submit a memorandum to the state government this week to reconsider its ban on tobacco products.
Villages in and around Pollachi municipality and Annur and Karamadai have vast tracts of fields used for cultivating tobacco. A rough estimate shows that about 4,00 farmers are engaged in tobacco cultivation in the district. Nine major varieties of tobacco grown in the country and states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are major producers of this leaf.
As per Tambaku Vikas Nideshalaya, (Directorate of Tobacco Development) Ministry of Agriculture (Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India), which is headquartered in Chennai, Coimbatore and Erode districts account for the major share of tobacco production in the state.
A major variety of tobacco produced in Coimbatore and Erode are used in the production of chewable tobacco products which has been banned in 25 states and five union territories in the country.
Beeda vendors in the city have also stopped the sale of their most sold blends that include high quantity of chewing tobacco.