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Centre likely to lift ban imposed on cotton export

Prithviraj Chavan meets Sonia; decision likely to be taken on Monday. The commerce ministry on March 5 had banned exports of cotton fearing shortfall in the domestic market. HT reports.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2012 11:00 PM IST

The government may lift ban on export of cotton imposed by commerce ministry on March 5 with farmer protests against the decision starting in Vidarbha region of Congress ruled Maharashtra.

State chief minister Prithviraj Chavan met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday even as BJP workers and farmer groups disrupted traffic in Viradbha to protest against the ban and sought immediate lifting of it.

Chavan, who had a scheduled meeting with the Congress president, is said to have discussed political implications of the ban on export of cotton. He was apparently of the view that the state government was not consulted before the ban was imposed.

The Maharashtra CM had also met agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, who has already expressed his anguish over the ban saying that the decision will hurt economic interest of cotton farmers.

He has the support of state chief ministers such as Gujarat’s Narendra Modi, who had written a letter to Prime Minister, terming the ban as a ill-conceived idea. With political pressure increasing on the UPA government to lift the ban, the government sources said a group of ministers, whose meeting remained inconclusive on Friday, is expected to meet again on Monday to decide on lifting the ban.

PTI quoted commerce secretary Rahul Khullar to say that the government may lift the ban. “The government is "contemplating lifting the ban on cotton exports,” the commerce secretary had said on Friday.

The commerce ministry on March 5 had banned exports of cotton fearing shortfall in the domestic market and hoarding in warehouses because of rise in international prices. But, the farmer organisations claimed the ban would deprive the farmers from getting economic benefits of high international prices.

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