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BJP slams govt on unilateral cotton export ban

New Delhi: BJP today attacked the government in Rajya Sabha on unilateral ban on export of cotton saying it has affected farmers and triggered suicides as cotton prices have fallen sharply and questioned whether the step was taken to favour private traders.

Demanding a statement from the Government on the issue, the members staged a walkout. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, senior party leader M Venkaiah Naidu said unilateral ban on cotton exports and the "ambiguity with regard to its lifting" has resulted in a sharp fall in cotton prices causing severe hardships to cotton growers.

"The ban was imposed on March 5 and lifted on March 12 but certain conditions were levied and as a result not even a tonne of export was done…lakhs of bales are lying piled up in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat. Prices have come down to Rs 3,500 from Rs 6,000 (per quintal) …government should remove the ban unconditionally," he said.

The situation has worsened to such an extent that "farmers are committing suicides and a farmer in Maharashtra, who committed suicide, left a note saying don`t vote for Congress and NCP," Naidu said. His remark drew sharp reaction from Congress members, including Renuka Chowdhary, that culminated into acrimonious exchange of words between the treasury and Opposition benches.

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