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Areca nut growers of Tripura blockade Jampui hill

The livelihood of areca nut growers of about 7000 families in North Tripura has been shattered as the market of the crop has been put off since the restriction imposed by the Assam Government on the transit of areca nut notwithstanding the ‘Place of Origin Certificate’ validating authenticity of the crop source, alleged All Tripura Areca nut Growers Union (ATAGU).

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Agartala:Normal life was affected badly with a sizable number of tourists stuck in the eastern hill from Monday after areca nut growers launched an indefinite strike in Jampui Hill, along the Tripura-Mizoram border demanding the lift of ban by the Assam government on the transportation of areca nut consignment from Tripura.

The livelihood of areca nut growers of about 7000 families in North Tripura has been shattered as the market of the crop has been put off since the restriction imposed by the Assam Government on the transit of areca nut notwithstanding the ‘Place of Origin Certificate’ validating authenticity of the crop source, alleged All Tripura Areca nut Growers Union (ATAGU).

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ATAGU Secretary Reuben Ranglong in a letter to Tripura Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha on Tuesday sought his intervention to take up the matter with his Assam counterpart and resolve it before the issue got complicated. The areca nut growers have also threatened to blockade the National Highway connecting Tripura with the rest of the country through Assam.

They demanded CM undertake urgent and effective steps for the transit of areca nut crops through Assam, as a huge amount of harvested areca nut has been dumped in different locations of North Tripura because of the transit restriction, and more are awaiting harvest. Unless the dispute is resolved a large number of areca nut growers would lose their livelihood, Reuben apprehended.

The plight of the areca nut growers has progressively been devastating as many of them were already in a debt trap, and about to revert their children’s enrollment from school or colleges, calling off life events including marriage, unapproachable medical facilities, and managing their daily food has also come under questions, he added.

The union suggested, “To establish an institutional mechanism for areca nut trading system and declare Minimum Support Price for areca nut crop to encourage the farmers, and to save them from distress sales like the ongoing adversity.”

Meanwhile, the officials of North Tripura district administration on Tuesday met the agitating villagers requesting them to withdraw from the strike and to coordinate the government to resolve the matter with the Assam government but to allow some time.

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