‘Farmers are in distress because of price crash'

Activists of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) staged a protest here on Saturday against the “coercive” methods used by cooperative and regional rural banks to recover loans from farmers.

As prices of arecanut, the main crop in Malnad region crashed after the Supreme Court's order against selling “gutkha” in plastic sachets, farmers were in distress, the activists said.

The yield of paddy and maize crops had come down drastically in the region owing to pest attacks and fungal infection. Cooperative and rural banks, which were expected to rush to the rescue of farmers in times of crisis, were forcibly recovering loans from them by auctioning their land, tractors and other assets, the activists alleged.

General secretary of the KRRS H.R. Basavarajappa demanded that the Government waive loans taken by areca growers in the region.

The State Government, which was generous towards religious institutions, had failed in protecting the interests of farmers. Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa's initiatives to help farmers were mere political gimmicks, he alleged.

The Union Government too had “failed” in addressing the problems faced by farmers, he said.

The activists also staged a demonstration on the premises of the Primary Land Development Bank for some time. KRRS leaders Kadidal Shamanna, Eshanna, S. Shivamurthy, and B.N. Chikkaswamy took part in the protest.