Farm workers' association stages dharna in front of the taluk office

The Udupi unit of Karnataka State Agricultural Workers' Union, affiliated to the All India Agricultural Workers' Union, staged a dharna in front of the taluk office here on Tuesday, seeking sites for the landless and homeless farm workers.

Union State unit president Nityananda Swamy said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government in the State was harping on the theme of development.

During the three-year rule of the BJP in the State, development had been confined only to rich sections of society. The BJP's theme of development was not an inclusive one and had not reached poor people. The Lokayukta report on the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) scam had clearly shown how some politicians and their relatives had managed to get lands of the poor farmers at throwaway prices. Another Lokayukta report on illegal mining had shown that the politicians had plundered the mineral resources in certain districts of the State leading to massive environmental destruction.

Mr. Swamy said that many poor people did not have their own houses nor did they own sites in Udupi taluk. In these days of rising inflation, it had become difficult for farm workers to carry on with their lives within the limited income which they earned. At many places, even rented houses were not available.

Since land prices had risen sharply, purchasing a small site had become a distant dream for farm workers. In a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and submitted in the Udupi taluk office, convener of Udupi taluk unit of the union Dogu Suvarna said that there were 3,342 landless and homeless poor people in 53 gram panchayats of Udupi district.

The State government should take steps to provide sites to them, the memorandum said.

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