SHRI K.N. BALAGOPAL (KERALA): Sir, the issue of rubber is a serious issue in the country. We have raised this issue several times in the past also. We gave this notice two weeks ago — last week. We got this opportunity and we were expecting to get some good reply from the Minister. Sir, I can see some examples of the interventions by the Government. Sir, the major rubber producing countries like Thailand have already allocated 1.8 billion dollars, i.e., around Rs.1,080 crores, for supporting the farmers in Thailand. It is some ‘Stabilization Fund.’ Sir, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam have already decided to refrain from selling the natural rubber below the current prices to control the market. Sir, Cambodia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea are also having some special schemes to support their rubber producers. Here, in our country, there is some deficiency of rubber every year. Around 50,000 tonnes of inadequate production is there. So, they can import a maximum of 50,000 tonnes. But in the last three years, if we calculate, on an average, they imported 3 lakh or 2.50 lakh tonnes of rubber. By importing that, they are trying to reduce the domestic price. Sir, the States like Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Assam and some other North Eastern States are producing rubber. Sir, NABARD is saying that — as per the NABARD account – the cost of one hectare of rubber tree plantation is Rs. 3,13,000. So, Rs.3,13,000 is the cost of plantation of one hectare of rubber. This is the cost in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu; and in the North-East, it is Rs.2,30,000. Such an investment is required to be put there but we are tapping the rubber after 7 years only. It grows after 7 tears. It is a cash crop and after 7 years only we are getting the rubber production from that. Sir, if the price goes down like this, it affects the farmers very badly. It requires a long gestation period and the entire farmers are affected. Sir, when Mr. Rajeeve spoke, he talked about the type manufacturers. Sir, if we take the figures of tyre produced in the country in the last two years, more than Rs. 25,000 crores of production is there. So, Rs. 25,000 crores of production is there. Now, if you take the tyre of Maruti car, it costs Rs.3,000 for a tyre. Last year there was this price; two years ago, it had the same price; and even now, its price is Rs.3,000. Though the rubber price has fallen by  50 per cent, the tyre companies are charging the same price. The farmers are losing Rs.13,500 crores annually. …(Time-bell)…

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please conclude. Put the questions.

SHRI K.N. BALAGOPAL: We are producing 9 lakh tonnes of rubber. The price of rubber is reduced by Rs.150 per kilo and if we calculate it, it is Rs.13,500 crores that the farmers are losing and this Rs.13,5000 crores is going to the tyre manufactures. They are getting this profit. The Government has to do something. It needs to do some insurance; price stabilization is required and immediately ban the import of rubber. That is what we are requesting. (Ends)

SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN (WEST BENGAL): Sir, I fully endorse the suggestions made by my colleagues on substantial increase in the import duty, substantially increasing the subsidy and strengthening other supporting network to take care of and protect the people working in the rubber plantation. The major consumption of rubber is by the tyre industry. The Government should ensure that they are not closed down. In my State, two major tyre manufacturers, the Tyre Corporation of India, a public sector undertaking, and another in the private sector, Dunlop, are being pushed to closure.

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: I think that is closed.

SHRI TAPAN KUMAR SEN: Those two companies are major consumers of rubber. That aspect also needs to be looked into by the Government so that they are not closed down.