Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said his government’s schemes were not only aimed at the AHINDA communities, but also for the poor sections of society. Mr. Siddaramaiah was responding to reporters’ queries on the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda’s remarks on the Congress government’s programmes, at the Lalith Mahal helipad here. He quipped: “Is the Anna Bhagya scheme benefitting only the AHINDA communities?” The scheme of distributing 30 kg rice at Re. 1 a kg benefits the poor belonging to all sections of society, he said.
While rejecting claims by the Opposition that some of the schemes were aimed with an eye on next year’s Lok Sabha elections, Mr. Siddaramaiah said: “My government is always for the poor sections of society and farmers.”
Rubbishing their allegations that his government had no concern for the farmer, Mr. Siddaramaiah listed out steps taken by the government for the farmer. A subsidy of Rs. 250 a tonne of sugarcane had been offered to farmers, besides announcing support price for maize, ragi, jowar and paddy. Purchase centres had been opened across the State to buy farm produce, he pointed out.
He said a relief of Rs. 110 crore and Rs. 73 crore had been announced for arecanut and coconut growers, respectively.
Also, the Centre had been requested to waive loans availed by grape and pomegranate growers of the State. Since the Centre had agreed to waive interest on the loan, the State had sought rescheduling of the loans.
Copra had been bought at Rs. 6,500 per quintal; Ragi at Rs. 1,800 a quintal and maize at Rs. 1,310 a quintal. “Are these measures not in the interest of farmers,” he asked.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said a decision had been taken not to buy rice for Anna Bhagya scheme from other States but to mobilise rice within the State to benefit paddy growers here. Paddy is being bought from farmers at Rs. 1,600 a quintal and rice mills had been asked to give more levy rice.
He said rice mills would get Rs. 2,400 a quintal of rice they supply to the government instead of Rs. 2,100 a quintal offered earlier. Last year, the mills gave about 2 lakh tonnes of rice. But the government had sought more rice this year from them in view of the Anna Bhagya scheme. “The mills have responded positively to the State’s request,” he said.
Run for unity
Replying to questions on ‘Run for Unity’, organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party to draw people’s support for constructing the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue in Gujarat, he said the government has no objection to the run. But, the people of the State will never forget the misdeeds of the BJP when it was in power. Its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi cannot revive the party’s image here, he said. “A former Chief Minister went to prison; houses of BJP Ministers were raided, and the illegal mining issue came up. The people cannot forget these things,” he said.