To pressurise the state government to address plaints of coconut and arecanut growers, Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene will stage a protest at Freedom Park in Bengaluru on June 25.
Addressing media persons at Jaladarshini guest house here on Monday, Sangha president and MLA K S Puttanaiah said that arecanut and coconut were the major commercial crops in the state and due to crash in the prices, farmers have suffered huge losses. Around 12,000 farmers from across the state will take out a rally from Bengaluru City Railway Station to Freedom Park, the MLA added.
He said that middlemen were making attractive profit and blamed the state government for not taking measures to address farmers’ plaints. Not a single leader from any major political party is concerned to look into their issues, he added.
According to Puttannaiah, farmers are growing coconut at 1.20 lakh hectare in twelve districts in the state. Coconut and arecanut contributes revenue of about Rs 60 crore to the state exchequer. Nearly, one lakh coconut trees perished last year due to drought and the government has not bothered to address drought situation, he lamented.
Implement Neera policy
Puttanaiah pointed out that the government had proposed ‘Neera policy’ eight years ago, but nothing has happened till now. “If Neera is permitted, then a farmer can earn Rs 3 lakh from twenty trees. Coconut growers in Tamil Nadu and Kerala are producing Neera, and balancing their loss with Neera as an alternative,” he added.
“The society will suffer if farmers are affected. Thinkers, intellectuals and litterateurs must raise their voice in favour of farmers and warn the government for neglecting the farming community,” he said.
Train officials, ministers
The MLA said that IAS officers, MLAs and ministers, including chief minister should be trained on agriculture to make them understand the issues of the farming community.
Puttanaiah said that the sangha is organising national convention in Hubballi on July 10-11. National leaders Yogendra Yadav, Prashanth Bhushan and others will participate in ‘Chintha Samavesha,’ he said.