The members of the district unit of the Karnataka State Agricultural Workers’ Union, affiliated to the All India Agricultural Workers Union, laid siege to the taluk panchayat here on Monday demanding sites and houses for the poor.

They blocked the Taluk Panchayat Road for about an hour. The police took the members of the union into preventive custody and later released them.

Earlier, addressing the protesters, Karnataka State Agricultural Workers Union president Nityananda Swamy said that it was incumbent upon the Government to provide all poor applicants with sites and houses in gram panchayats, town municipalities, and city municipalities. The government should take steps to identify lands which could be given to those without sites.

Many rich persons had encroached upon government lands in rural and urban areas. The government should take steps to evict them from the government lands. Many poor people had built their houses on government or forestlands in rural and urban areas. The government should take action to regularise such occupation and provide the people with title deeds.

Government lands should be distributed among the poor people so that they could build houses.

If government lands were not available in the district, then the Government should provide funds to the gram panchayats and urban local bodies so that they could purchase private lands at the prevailing market rates. These lands could then be distributed among the poor.

The loan along with subsidy limit for building houses in rural areas should be fixed at Rs. 2 lakh while it should be Rs. 3 lakh in urban areas. Houses should be built for beneficiaries of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under the Special Component Plan, Mr. Swamy said.

H. Vittal Poojary, K. Lakshman, Dogu Suvarna, K.A. Saira, Mumtaz, K. Shankar, P. Vishwanath Rai, Venkatesh Koni, and Rajeev Padukone, office-bearers of the union, were present.

Earlier, members of the union took out a procession from Service Bus Stand to the Taluk Panchayat.