Several farmers braved the rain on Tuesday to protest the apathy of the government in compensating areca farmers for their losses sustained due to the Kole Roga or the fruit rot disease.

State vice-president of the Karnataka Pranta Raitha Sangha Krishnappa Salian called arecanut the backbone of the district economy. “First, farmers had to suffer due to incessant power cuts, and water issues. And, now, Kole Roga has destroyed the yields of many farmers. The loans taken by farmers should be waived,” he said.

While the Sangha lashed out at the State government whose announcement of Rs. 25 crore compensation was termed as “inadequate”, members also criticised the policies of the Centre which they said favoured industries over agriculture.

“The subsidy by the Centre for farmers is just 3 per cent of the budget, which is far lesser than that of neighbouring countries, including Pakistan. The government is more intent on concessions for industries,” said K. Yadava Shetty, General Secretary.

The association demanded implementation of the 2009 Gorakh Singh Report, which suggested suitable compensation and farmer-empowerment schemes.

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