Chief Minister says he will urge Centre to announce minimum support price for areca

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa assured areca growers here that he would protect their interests.

Mr. Yeddyurappa, who was addressing a rally of areca growers organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party here on Saturday, said that hew would ensure that the kumki, kana, and bane rights of farmers were upheld and that he would not allow “even an inch” of their land to be taken away.

A certain proportion of land was granted to farmers to use as grazing ground and for fodder. He would hold a meeting of senior officials in Bangalore to discuss the issue in detail. He would also ask the officials to remove the legal impediments that came in the way of farmers cultivating these lands.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said he would put pressure on the Centre to fix a scientific procurement price for arecanut as the growers were in great distress. He would fight the Supreme Court ban on the use of plastic sachets for gutka, he said.

The Chief Minister announced funds for a slew of development projects in Sullia taluk, including the sanction of a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) depot in Sullia. Each legislative constituency would receive Rs. 5 crore for the development of lakes and ponds. He announced Rs. 25 lakh for the first phase of the development of village roads in the taluk. He announced Rs. 1 crore for construction works to be undertaken at Sri Chenna Keshava temple in the taluk on the grounds of which the rally was held.

The contingency fund would be increased up to Rs. 5,000 crore and would be used to provide financial assistance to farmers when market prices fall, he said. At present, the contingency fund had Rs. 1,000 crore, he said. The Chief Minister said that he would direct the Deputy Commissioner of the Dakshina Kannada to furnish caste certificates to Indians repatriated from Sri Lanka and settled in various parts of the district by the State government. Following an accord with the Sri Lankan government in the eighties, a large number of Indians were repatriated and settled in parts of Puttur and Sullia taluks.

Minister for Energy Shobha Karandlaje criticised the Congress for “unnecessarily stirring up trouble” by saying that the State government was attempting to reclaim kumki land given to farmers.

Udupi-Chikmagalur MP D.V. Sadananda Gowda said the minimum support price of areca, which was Rs. 70, should be raised to at least Rs. 114.

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