The Kerala government asked the Centre to hike the import duty on rubber and restrict its import with a view to extend relief to growers in the state who are facing crisis due to sharp fall in prices.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy sought his help to resolve the problem faced by rubber growers.
He also asked the Centre to use rubber for construction of national highways.
“As there is enough rubber in domestic market, maximum duty should be imposed on rubber that is imported and control should be brought”, he said.
Chandy said the National Highway Authority should be encouraged to use rubber in the construction of national highways since it was proved that using rubberised bitumen for tarring the roads increases its life.
Referring to the steps taken by the state, he said the government is procuring rubber through Rubber Mark and Marketfed at a price of Rs 2 more than the Rubber Board to help farmers.
But even the Grade One rubber is only for Rs 127 per kg. This is the lowest in the last five years. When there was a dip in rubber price during 1997-2002, State Trading Corporation procured the commodity.
Chandy also insisted that discussion should be carried out with Foreign Trade Director General and a policy decision should be taken regarding import of rubber.
The Chief Minister also requested the Prime Minister to give direction to advance authorisation holders to buy rubber that was procured by the government through various agencies.
He also pointed out the need to give shape to a Rs 1,000 crore price stability fund.