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Farmers’ vote hinges on 22-point agenda

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Hard-hitting: Farmers at a meeting in Mysore where the 22-point agenda for political parties was set on Tuesday.
Hard-hitting: Farmers at a meeting in Mysore where the 22-point agenda for political parties was set on Tuesday.

Special Correspondent

Their main demand is to have a 24-hour call centre to provide counselling and resolution of problems

Call for regular visits by political parties to assess the issues and problems of constituency

Sugarcane mills in the region should be equipped with the latest electronic weighing machines

MYSORE: It is a reversal of roles and the farmers have spoken. It is time for political parties to listen. If they want the support of the farming community, then a 22-point agenda spelled out by them is what the aspiring MLAs should adhere to.

The 22-point agenda was set at a meeting of the Kabini Raitha Hita Rakshana Samithi and Sugarcane Cultivators’ Association here on Tuesday.

The list of demands spelled out by the farmers is demanding. It calls for political parties and candidates to ensure that they visit the area once in two months and apprise themselves of the issues and problems facing the general public in their respective constituencies. The more exacting demand includes establishing a 24-hour call centre to provide counselling and resolution of farmers’ problems at district and taluk levels. The farmers want it to be modelled after the call centres of mobile service providers and private banks, according to Kurubur Shanthakumar, who is the president of Kabini Raitha Hitarakshana Samithi and State Sugarcane Growers’ Association.

Sugarcane cultivators have not spared the mill owners either and candidates if elected, should ensure that sugarcane mills in the region be equipped with the latest electronic weighing machines whose control should be vested with the farmers. A farmers’ commission, on the lines of various expert commissions, should be constituted for fixing of procurement prices that is in their interest.

They have sought an assurance that the State Advisory Price in respect of sugarcane is spelled out every year to the sugar mill owners so as to avoid frequent agitation by farmers on the issue.

It has also demanded that emphasis should be given to agriculturists and those supporting the cause of farmers during appointments to the Legislative Council and the Rajya Sabha.

Drawing attention to the prevailing disparity between the urban centres and rural areas, with regard to power supply, the farmers said this should be bridged with sufficient power supply to rural areas.

“While thousands of watts of power is supplied to the Mysore Palace for the enjoyment of tourists, not a single watt of power is supplied to the farmers who feed the nation,” the association said.

A scheme to educate the farmers has also been demanded in the agenda. It requires political parties to ensure that information pertaining to prospective prices that could be expected based on demand and supply projections and new schemes launched by the Government, should be provided to farmers at their “door steps”.

It has also not spared the NGOs and wants the government to release the list of voluntary organisations and NGOs that receive funds from various sources under the pretext of helping the farming community. A unique idea to encourage competent officials to serve in rural areas has been spelt out by the association. It has urged the government to declare special allowances and a higher rate of bonus for those working in rural areas.

The list also touches upon distribution of BPL cards, timely release of monthly ration, improving communication network in rural areas.

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