As part of pre-budget consultation, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah held discussions with leaders of eight farmers’ organisations here on Wednesday.
He met leaders of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene, the Karnataka State Non-political Farmers’ Welfare Committee, the Karnataka State Federation of Farmers’ Organisations and the National Farmers’ Association, and MLA K.S. Puttannaiah.Relief sought
Later, Mr. Siddaramaiah, who also holds the Finance portfolio, told presspersons that the leaders listed out their demands and sought relief for farmers.
President of the Karnataka State Sugarcane Growers’ Association Kurubur Shanthakumar, however, said the meeting was convened keeping in mind the Lok Sabha elections. He said sugar factories had defied the government directive to pay Rs. 2,500 for tone of sugarcane and that they owed Rs. 100 crore to growers. He urged Mr. Siddaramaiah to take steps to ensure that the factories paid arrears to growers immediately.
KRRS president Kodihalli Chandrashekar said his organisation would take to the streets if a populist budget was presented keeping in mind the Lok Sabha elections. He said 50 per cent of the budget allocations should be earmarked for the welfare of farmers, and agricultural income guarantee and price guarantee commissions should be set up.‘Quarterly meetings’
Chukki Nanjundaswamy, daughter of the former KRRS president late M.D. Nanjundaswamy, was of the opinion that such pre-budget general discussion with farmers would not serve any purpose. She said the Chief Minister should instead hold quarterly meetings and solve farmers’ problems. Ms. Nanjundaswamy urged the Chief Minister to bring about agrarian reforms and regularise ‘bagair hukum’ cultivations.
Farmers’ leaders B.P. Sheri and B.M. Hanasi demanded remunerative prices for maize, jowar and cotton, and action against companies that supply substandard seeds.