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Sericulture farmers and reelers stage dharna

Staff Reporter
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They oppose duty-free imports of silk

Members of all-India struggle committee against duty-free silk import staging a protest in front of the Director of Sericulture office in Bangalore on Wednesday. — Photo: K. Murali Kumar
Members of all-India struggle committee against duty-free silk import staging a protest in front of the Director of Sericulture office in Bangalore on Wednesday. — Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Sericulturists and silk reelers on Wednesday staged a dharna here in protest against duty-free imports of silk and have threatened to hold rail roko in the districts where sericulture is popular, on Monday.

They have urged the Union Government to scrap the global tender called for for duty free import of 578 tonnes of silk. “The Union Government has also brought down the excise duty on silk imports from 35 per cent to 5 per cent. We want the excise duty to be hiked to 50 per cent,” president of the Karnataka Rajya Prantha Raitha Sangha Maruti Manpade has said.

Duty free imports of silk, he said, would devastate the local sericulture industry and will wipe away small sericulturists, reelers and others. The crash in silk prices has led to a crisis in the sericulture industry here, resulting in farmers' suicide, he claimed.

The protesters also submitted a memorandum to the Sericulture Commissioner urging the State Government to lead a delegation, in the interest of farmers, to the Union Government seeking imposition of 50 per cent excise duty on imported silk.

Besides rail roko, the farmers have decided to stage a dharna in front of the offices of Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily at Chikkaballapur, Union Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa in Kolar and Foreign Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna in Bangalore, on March 20.

Rail roko will be staged in Tumkur, Ramanagaram, Bangalore Rural, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Mysore, Mandya and Chamarajanagar.

Farmers leader G.C. Bayyareddy was present.

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