Arya Ediga Rashtriya Mahamandali sets June 19 deadline to lift ban on toddy tapping
The Arya Ediga Rashtriya Mahamandali has set June 19 as the deadline for lifting the ban on toddy tapping and its sale in Karnataka.
Pranavananda Swami, national president of the mahamandali, who concluded his first leg of the 175-km long padayatra on Wednesday, was addressing a press conference in Kalaburagi on Thursday.
“If the State Government fails to fulfill our pending demand by June 19, we will go on an indefinite hunger strike outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Kalaburagi from June 20 and block the State Highways across Kalyana Karnataka and north Karnataka region on June 21,” he cautioned.
He said that the traditional occupation of the Ediga community was toddy tapping, but most of the families are strained by financial difficulties after the Government banned the practice in Karnataka.
He called upon the Government to immediately lift the ban on tapping and selling toddy from palmyra and coconut trees and also allow import of toddy from neighbouring States.
The Karnataka Government banned toddy tapping in 2000 and since then, the community members are facing difficulties and are still lagging economically. To protect the livelihood of thousands of farmers, the Government has to extend relief to the families whose prime occupation was tapping toddy, he added.
The demand also included establishment of a study centre in the name of Sree Narayana Guru and Hendada Marayya at Gulbarga University.
He also demanded that the Government include lessons on Sree Narayana Guru’s life and his philosophy in the higher education curriculum.
He also demanded that the State Government name the Shivamogga airport after former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa.
“A delegation of the mahamandali will meet Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai by next week to discuss the Arya Ediga community issues. If the Government neglects our demands, the Ediga community, which is a deciding factor in 17 constituencies across the State, will give a fitting reply to the BJP in the 2023 Assembly elections,” he warned.
The mahamandali will be launching the second phase of the padayatre from Sarekoppa, the native place of Mr. Bangarappa, to Sigandur Chowdeshwari temple in Kalasavalli, Shivamogga. The third phase of the padayatre will be from Sagar to Mangaluru.