Farmers’ leader Kurubur Shanthakumar on Tuesday, January 30, accused political parties of shedding crocodile tears about farmers and their sufferings and trying to divide the farmers’ organisations to break the farming community.
“With elections approaching, the political parties are engaged in vote bank politics, conveniently forgetting the sufferings of farmers amidst severe drought, and not raising the issue of waiver of farm loans. When the Telangana government can waive farm loans and the Centre can consider waiver of huge loans of industrialists, why cannot the loans of State farmers be waived?”, he asked at a meeting of farmers here.
He said sugar factories were not paying the additional cost of ₹150 on a tonne of sugarcane despite an order in this regard following 39 days of sugarcane farmers’ protest. “If the government cannot ask the factories to pay up, then it should make the payment to farmers,” demanded Mr. Shanthkumar, who is the president of the Federation of Farmers’ Organisations of Karnataka and the State Sugarcane Growers’ Association.
Claiming that farmers are being served notices by the banks for recovering loans, he said farmers are migrating in search of a livelihood in view of drought. “An organised movement for farmers’ rights is the need of the hour,” he felt.
Demanding amendment to loan policies, he said farmers must get crop loans at zero interest rates.
Mr. Shanthakumar demanded the scrapping of the Land Reforms Amendment Act and APMC Amendment Act as “promised by the State government to farmers while coming to power”.
The farmers took out a march and later met the deputy commissioner, Mr. K.V. Rajendra, and demanded adequate compensation to farmers in whose lands 220 kv electric poles and cables are being laid.
In a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the DC, they sought separate allocation for the agriculture sector and announcement of farmer-centric projects in the State Budget. The farmers’ wish list ahead of the Budget will be presented to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Bengaluru on February 6, Mr. Shanthakumar announced.