Belagavi: The unending sugarcane crisis continued to haunt the Siddaramaiah government even as the winter session of the state legislature got underway in Belagavi on Monday. Several farmer organisations led by Karnataka Ryot Sangh launched their dharnas in front of Suvarna Vidhana Soudha accusing the government of neglecting the agriculture sector, especially sugarcane growers. Headed by president of Ryot Sangh, Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, the agitators vowed to continue their dharna until the Siddaramaiah government took a decision to waive farm loans besides fixing a scientific price for cane and other crops. Highlighting the worsening plight of farmers in drought-hit areas, Mr Chandrashekhar questioned the government on the concrete measures it had taken to help farmers who lost their crops. He blamed the government for the farmers’ agitation and said the protests will continue until farmers get justice.
A team of senior police officials held a meeting of farmer leaders at the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Belagavi prior to the start of the legislature session at Suvarna Soudha in an attempt to stop them from staging dharnas. The farmers did not agree to what the officers assured them and decided to launch their dharna.
The Chief Minister decided to hold a meeting of farmer leaders at the Soudha soon after the first day's proceedings of the session in an attempt to end the ongoing agitation.
However, according to the leaders, they will not withdraw their agitation until the government announces a waiver of farm loans.
Another indefinite agitation was launched by a group of activists headed by freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy in front of the Soudha late on Sunday night. He urged the government to ensure work and shelter to all those working as agriculture labourers in the state while highlighting the plight of the workers whose future was bleak due to the harassment by landlords.
Shettar: Stop politicising drought
Leader of the Opposition in the legislative Assembly, Jagadish Shettar on Monday demanded that the state government stop politicising the release of compensation to drought-hit farmers in various parts of the state.
Speaking during the debate on farm distress in the Assembly, Mr Shettar said that the state government must stop blaming the Centre for all its problems.
“The state government must take steps to release its share of funds rather than wait for the Union government to release its share,” he stated.
Mr. Shettar recalled that when he was Chief Minister, he had released Rs 3,500 crore to mitigate farmers’ problems even before the Union government could act and had brought some commodities under VAT.
“This was a stop gap arrangement. But after the Congress party led by Mr Siddaramaiah came to power, he had not reversed this policy and continued to mop up resources. Why can’t you spend this amount on farmers?” he questioned....