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Anand Sharma defends ban on cotton exports

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The government's decision to ban cotton exports today triggered an uproar in the Lok Sabha which saw Commerce Minister Anand Sharma launch a spirited defence of the measure, which had to be rolled back after strong resistance from some chief ministers.

"Ninety per cent of our cotton has gone out of the country. From next month there will be no cotton left in the markets. Textile mills in the country will close down," he said during Question Hour.

Sharma said the handloom sector in the country will be ruined and then the same people will question the government for its inaction.

On March 5, the government had banned cotton exports, a move that angered Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who complained to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he was not consulted on the issue.

Some chief ministers, including from Congress-ruled Maharashtra and BJP-ruled Gujarat, had also conveyed their resentment over the move, stating it would hurt farmers.

A delegation from Gujarat led by Ahmed Patel, Political Secretary to UPA President Sonia Gandhi, had also met the Prime Minister seeking revocation of the ban.

First Published: Mon, March 19 2012. 18:20 IST