Bengaluru: Upset over the government’s apathy towards addressing burning agrarian issues, thousands of farmers from across Karnataka, including a large number of sugarcane growers, staged a demonstration at Freedom Park in Bengaluru this morning as a prelude to their plans of laying siege to Vidhana Soudha in the afternoon.
The farmers are seeking fulfilment of their demands which chiefly included full farm loan waiver as promised by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy in the run up to the Assembly polls, clearance of pending arrears by sugar factories for the cane supplied, announcement of State-set Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) for sugarcane, re-starting of crushing by sugar factories, an exclusive package for rebuilding of flood-ravaged Kodagu district, compensation of Rs.25,000 per hectare for crop loss, introduction of a flexible agri-lending policy and farmer- friendly implementation of Fasal Bima Yojana, among others.
Farmers take trains
Earlier, thousands of farmers from across Karnataka, who arrived in the State capital by trains, converged at Freedom Park before marching towards the Vidhana Soudha.
About 1,000 farmers each from Mandya and Mysuru District too left for Bengaluru by trains, with farmers travelling without tickets as a mark of protest against the Union Government’s indifferent attitude towards resolving agrarian crisis that has been haunting the country.
Tight Police security
With farmers gathering at Freedom Park, a strong Police force of over a thousand personnel was deployed at Majestic, Freedom Park and other key locations in the heart of Bengaluru in order to prevent the irate farmers from reaching Vidhana Soudha, the seat of power.
CM Kumaraswamy is said to have convened a meeting with leaders of farmer groups at Vidhana Soudha tomorrow afternoon, in a bid to end the crisis. The CM is also said to have held a meeting with top officials from Agriculture, Horticulture, Sugar, Co-operation and Finance Departments to work out a solution that would satisfy the angry farmers.
Demand apology from CM
The farmers also demanded an apology from the CM for his alleged insulting remarks against a woman cane grower, who was protesting to demand payments by Sugar Mills, in front of Suvarna Soudha at Belagavi yesterday.
Minister meets farmers
Co-operation Minister Bandeppa Kashempur visited the spot in a bid to pacify the agitating farmers. The Minister, after receiving a memorandum, assured the farmers that the coalition government was committed to resolve farmer issues.
Farmer leaders Chamarasa Malipatil, K.T. Gangadhar, G.T. Ramaswamy, Chukki Nanjundaswamy, Sunitha Puttannaiah, Lokesh Raje Urs, Hoskote Basavaraj, Hosur Kumar and others took part in the protest.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet meeting to discuss farmer issues was on when we went to the Press.
Yesterday, sugarcane growers in Belagavi, angered by the delay in payments by sugar mills, turned the heat on the Government by driving sugarcane-laden trucks into Suvarna Soudha premises after forcibly opening one of the main gates. However, the Police brought the situation under control and arrested about 30 protestors.
PM Modi ridicules Congress: Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at the Congress for giving false and impractical assurances to farming community. Addressing a rally at Mahasamund in poll-bound Chhattisgarh yesterday, Modi ridiculed Congress’ promise of farm loan waiver within 10 days if the party was voted to power in Chhattisgarh.
Pointing out that the Coalition Government in Karnataka, with the Congress as major partner, is yet to implement farm loan waiver even after 6 months in power, the PM said the Congress cannot mislead the country by making false claims. Stating that the Congress ruled the country for most part since independence, Modi questioned the Congress on what it had done for the farming community after being in power for decades.