The State Areca Task Force has decided to constitute a five-member expert committee to argue that areca is not harmful to health, said BJP MLA Araga Jnanendra, who is also president of the task force.
Addressing a press conference after chairing a meeting of the task force in Shivamogga on Tuesday, Mr. Jnanendra said the committee would include experts from technical institutes, agriculture universities and areca growers. “The task force is prepared to place its argument in defence of areca in the courts”, he said.
The task force has also appealed to the Centre to restrict import of areca so that the native growers get good price. Similarly, the scheme of minimum support price should be extended to areca as well, the MLA said.
The task force had appealed to the State government to earmark ₹10 crore in the next budget for the task force’s activities. The government had already released ₹3.5 crore..
Sagar MLA Hartal Halappa, Malnad Development Authority chairman K.S. Gurumurthy and others were present.