Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah on Wednesday demanded that Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar release 50 per cent of the Rs. 3,200 crore required to waive the cooperative loan of farmers announced recently and save the district cooperative banks and cooperative societies and also disburse loan for rabi crop.

Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Siddaramaiah urged Mr. Shettar to waive loans taken from April 1, 2011 instead of August 1. While the Government had implemented the 0.5 per cent VAT hike from August 1, it failed to issue GO for waiving the loan, he added.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that the government, which claimed that it had helped farmers, had passed on the burden to the tax payers. Minister for Cooperation B.J. Puttaswamy, who had convened a meeting to discuss the issue, had cancelled it as joining the drought tour undertaken by the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa from Tumkur district was more important for him than helping farmers.

The Congress leader said that of the 7 per cent interest charged on cooperative loans to farmers, the Union government was subsidising 3 per cent and the State Government’s share of interest subsidy was only 4 per cent, and hence the burden on it was meagre.

Terming Mr. Yeddyurappa`s tour as extra constitutional and politically motivated, he said that the BJP leader knew it was embarrassing to explain his jail term and the power struggle in BJP.

He criticised Mr. Shettar’s demand that the Centre release Rs. 19,000 crore for drought relief and asked him to come out with a White Paper on how his government spent central funds for providing drinking water, fodder and jobs.

On Union Minister for Labour and Employment Mallikarjun Kharge’s outburst against disunity in the KPCC, he said that it was his personal view. “Let us concentrate on party building to face the elections which is round the corner,” he said and insisted that there was unity in the party.

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