PESHAWAR - Tobacco growers have rejected the prices fixed by the Pakistan Tobacco Board, and demanded of the government to implement the proposed support price of Rs183.4/kg, by a committee of the Ministry of National Food and Research. Speaking at a press conference here at the Peshawar Press Club, Chairman Kashtakar Coordination Council (KCC) Swabi, said that the Ministry of Food and Research had constituted a special committee to ascertain the prices of tobacco with regard to the per kilogram production cost. The committee, he said, after conducting a detailed survey in tobacco producing areas recommended fixing a support price of Rs183.4/kg, while Rs159.5/kg as production cost of tobacco, he added.However, he said that the multinational tobacco manufacturing companies had declined to accept the proposed support prices of Rs183.4/kg during a meeting held at the Ministry of Commerce on June 18, 2012. Accompanied by KCC President Mohammad Azam, General Secretary Liaqat Yousafzai, Joint Secretary Nasir Khan, and Secretary Information Khan Mohammad, he said that tobacco is a cash crop of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, despite the fact that it is yet to be accepted as a crop. He said that approximately Rs140 billion revenue is generated by tobacco per annum, while the last year Rs80 billion revenue was generated by the crop. On the occasion, Arif Khan informed that the government has earned Rs17 billion on head of taxes through the tobacco annually. Similarly, he maintained that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had received Rs60 million of the total revenue share from the Centre. Keeping in view the huge revenue contribution, he asked for extending a Rs3 billion subsidy to tobacco producing districts, whereas the revenue was generated by tobacco cess, should be utilized on infrastructure development of the region.“We didn’t accept the monopoly of multi-national tobacco manufacturing and producing companies”, he warned. “We will not tolerate exploitation and economic genocide of poor tobacco growers, would continue struggle to provide legitimate right to them, he vowed. He criticized that the PTB role was remained vague to support the poor farmers in every season, saying that representatives of multi-national companies and members of tobacco board and officials always fixed prices without the consultation and consent of the growers. He alleged that due to influential people in PTB the federal government had also failed to take action against the monopoly multi-national tobacco manufacturing and producing companies, therefore, he demanded of the government to fix tobacco support prices at Rs183.4 per/Kg as per survey report of the committee. He urged the federal and provincial governments to implement the decision of survey committee to give financial benefit to poor tobacco growers.