Government urged to announce minimum support price
The sudden fall in onion prices in the the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) at Amargol in Hubli on Monday forced farmers to stage a ‘rasta roko' agitation.
Besides farmers from Dharwad district, many had also come from Bijapur, Gadag and Bagalkot districts to sell their produce at the APMC yard.
On learning that the onion prices being quoted by the merchants during the auction was much lower than what they had expected, they were disappointed and resorted to a snap strike. They marched to the main road between Hubli and Dharwad and blocked it for more than 30 minutes thus bringing the traffic to a grinding halt.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) S.M. Pratapan, Assistant Commissioners of Police N.S. Patil and A.R. Badiger and many other police officers rushed to the spot and managed to persuade the farmers to withdraw their agitation.
The farmers then marched to the administrative block of the APMC office and staged a dharna alleging that the authorities concerned had deliberately lowered the onion prices. They claimed that quality onions could have fetched them anywhere between Rs. 500 and 1,200 a quintal, but the prices being quoted in the APMC in Amaragol were between Rs. 200 and Rs. 800 a quintal.
The farmers forced closure of some shops in the APMC yard and demanded that the purchase of onions should be stopped till the Government announced the minimum support price.
Hubli tahsildar S.S. Biradar rushed to the spot and held talks with the farmers and the directors of the APMC.
APMC president Shankaragouda Patil also spoke to farmers and the merchants and assured the farmers that steps would be taken to ensure that there was a marginal hike in the onion prices.
The farmers withdrew their protest after Mr. Patil assured them that he would accompany them to the shops where low prices had been quoted during the auction and that he would help resolve issues.