Staff Correspondent

To give election boycott call to end ‘Bane’ land row

‘Distribute Rs. 18 crore relief to farmers’

‘It will work out to Rs. 6,000 a hectare’

Madikeri: Nalknad Farmers Association on Friday threatened to stage a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here, if the Rs. 18 crore relief amount released by the Union Government was not distributed among the farmers who had suffered loss in coffee cultivation in last year’s monsoon.

Speaking to presspersons here, association president Jolly Bopaiah said farmers had suffered both due to lack of rain and excess rain in the last season.

A Central team, which had inspected the plantations in 2007, through the Coffee Board, had been responsible for the release of Rs. 18 crore — at Rs. 6,000 per hectare loss — but the district administration was procrastinating without distributing the funds to the affected persons.

Association secretary Ramesh Muddaiah said that most of the farmers were again likely to be affected due to the recent untimely rain which needed to be assessed again. They were given to understand that another Central team was coming to assess the loss but what would be the use when last year’s relief itself was yet to be given, he asked.

Pandanda Naresh, association member, blamed the elected representatives and the revenue officials for remaining apathetic to the plight of the farmers.

N.S. Udayashankar, another member, said that the banks had raised the lending slabs for Robusta coffee from Rs. 8,000 per acre to Rs. 15,000 per acre and similarly for Arabica. But it would cut down on the five per cent subsidy of the Coffee Board given to farmers who had availed themselves of loans from banks.

Mr. Naresh said that over 40 per cent of this year’s crop would suffer as untimely rain had played spoilsport.

Coffee spread in the drying yards of many growers this season was washed away in the rain. Lack of pollination due to rain during the flowering this season again was likely to play havoc.

Elections

Mr. Muddaiah, Mr. Naresh, Dr. Bopaiah and B.T. Dinesh mooted the idea of boycotting the forthcoming Legislative Assembly elections with a view to bringing pressure on the Governor’s administration to end the “Bane” land impasse in Kodagu.

“Why should we elect representatives to Karnataka Legislative Assembly when the Government claimed the “Bane” land is its property?” Mr. Udayashankar asked.

The association would give a call for election boycott and seek support of the Kodagu Asthitva Horata Samiti, spearheading the “Bane” land movement in Kodagu, to support it, Mr. Naresh said.

He also accused certain elected representatives of availing themselves of all benefits that accrued under the National Horticulture Mission in Kodagu.

The mission had failed to achieve its objectives in the district, he alleged.

More In: KARNATAKA | NATIONAL