A top Health Ministry official has met tobacco farmers and assured them that the government was aware of their concerns about the “undemocratic” way in which “one-sided” policies were being framed without involving them at an ongoing global conference on tobacco control. “Arun K Panda, Additional Secretary, Health Ministry, met the members of Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA) on Tuesday and told them that Union Health Minister JP Nadda was concerned about the issues faced by the tobacco farmers.
“The tobacco farmers put forward their concerns and grievances before Panda and asked for the government’s support against the ongoing deliberations at WHO-FCTC CoP7,” FAIFA said.
India is hosting the Seventh Session of the Conference of Parties (CoP7) of World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for the first time.
Indian tobacco farmers had staged a demonstration at the venue of a global conference yesterday to protest the “undemocratic” way of framing “one-sided” policies regarding tobacco.
Nadda had yesterday said the government was aware of the concerns of tobacco farmers and their issues would be discussed during the ongoing global tobacco control conference.
The farmers again expressed their displeasure today with the “disinterest” of the government in the past as far as the livelihood issues and the problems faced by the them were concerned.
“While we are happy that the government has indicated that it is aware of the problems being faced by the tobacco farmers, it is sad that it remained unmoved for over a year. We are waiting to see what Panda brings to the table after 20 days,” said BV Javare Gowda, president, FAIFA.