Prime News, Karnataka, Bengaluru, November 19:- Thousands of farmers from across Karnataka, especially sugarcane growers, are protesting at Freedom Park here on Monday, demanding settlement of dues by the sugar mill owners for the sugarcane purchased from them. The farmers are also up in arms against Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy for his derogatory remarks against them when they were protesting against the government at Belagavi on Sunday.
The agitating farmers are threatening to swarm Vidhana Soudha to press home some of their demands. Heavy security has been deployed at Freedom Park to avoid untoward incidents.
Scores of farmers went on protest march towards Vidhana Soudha. Bengaluru Police allowed the farmers to hold a rally from Majestic to Freedom Park but denied permission for a rally from Freedom Park to Vidhana Soudha.
Talking to reporters, Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was instigating the farmers to protest the Congress-JD(S) coalition. “BJP is not able to tolerate the welfare measures that the government is taking to help farmers. State BJP leaders are instigating the farmers to protest.”
On Sunday, hundreds of farmers, including womenfolk, staged a protest in Belagavi against the state government’s indifference over ensuring minimum support price for sugarcane and in getting their arrears released from the mill owners.
“In view of the production glut and falling price, the state government should ensure a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 3,000 per tonne for sugarcane with 9.5 per cent recovery and help us get arrears for the cane supplied to mill owners last year,” farmer leader Siddanna Gouda told reporters here, about 500km northwest of the state capital.
The previous Congress government had fixed Rs. 2,500 per tonne as MSP last year.
With input costs, including harvesting and transporting the cane to the mills going up steeply, Gouda said growing sugarcane was no longer remunerative, as mill owners were unwilling to pay more and settle the arrears.
“We suspended on Saturday our agitation launched on November 15 for higher MSP and recovery of arrears on the assurance of Kumaraswamy that he would meet us here on Monday. But he has now backed out,” alleged Gouda.
“We will disrupt the winter session of the state legislature in Belagavi next month if the state government does not resolve our issues by November 30, as we cannot keep the cane in the fields longer from harvesting as recovery will be less if delayed,” added Gouda.
The opposition BJP condemned the JD-S-Congress coalition government’s indifference to the plight of the sugarcane farmers in the state.
“The coalition government’s approach to farmers’ plight is reprehensible. Scores of farmers, including their womenfolk, were arrested at Belagavi for staging a protest,” said Karnataka BJP President B S Yeddyurappa in Bengaluru.
Mocking at Kumaraswamy and the JD-S for claiming to be a party for farmers, by farmers and of farmers, Yeddyurappa said the former told a woman agitator that he was not responsible for what happened to them over the last four years as he became chief minister only 5 months ago. Kumaraswamy has also cast aspersions on the integrity of the farmers, which is unacceptable.
“By calling farmers ‘goondas’ (goons), Kumaraswamy has indulged in an outrageous act. This shows the contempt his party has for farmers,” added Yeddyurappa. (MR, Inputs: Agencies)