With the Union government categorically ruling out establishment of a turmeric board in the state, turmeric farmers in Telangana are furious over the BJP's Tamil Nadu poll manifesto which mentions setting up a turmeric board in the election-bound state. Turmeric farmers in Armoor town of Nizamabad district gathered in protest on Thursday and burnt copies of the BJP poll manifesto for the TN Assembly polls that are due on April 6. They also demanded the resignation of Nizamabad Lok Sabha member Dharmapuri Arvind.
Mohan Reddy, a local turmeric farmer participating in Thursday's protest said, "It's not fair for the BJP to refuse a turmeric development board to Telangana which grows turmeric on more than a lakh acres while there is hardly 30,000 acres under turmeric cultivation in Tamil Nadu."
In January this year, turmeric farmers had after a face off with the Nizamabad MP at a meeting at Kammarpally mandal in the constituency under the banner of Rythu Aikya Vedika (Farmer’s Union Forum), in the backdrop of delay in the setting up of turmeric board. As the MP left the venue as farmers raised slogans and demanded his resignation, unions said that they would stop him and protest at all events he would attend.
The erstwhile Nizamabad district is one of the biggest centres of turmeric trade in Telangana. In the run-up to the 2019 general election, BJP candidate Dharmapuri Arvind had assured voters of setting up a turmeric board in Nizamabad, if he was elected. However, the Union government on March 15 categorically said that there was no proposal to set up a Turmeric Board in Telangana.
Earlier, replying to a question raised by TRS MP KR Suresh Reddy in the Rajya Sabha, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry had already established a Regional Office-cum-Extension Centre of Spices Board at Nizamabad for export promotion of spices including turmeric.
Turmeric is one of the important spice crops in the country with a total production of 11.53 lakh tonnes, which accounts for 78% of total turmeric production in the world. Telangana is the largest producer of turmeric with 3.86 lakh tonnes and has a cultivation area of 1.37 lakh acres.
(With IANS inputs)