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Silk-growing districts likely to observe bandh

Vishwa Kundapura
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Farmers in distress after steep fall in prices of cocoons

Farmers want minimum support price of Rs. 350 for a kg of cocoon
Farmers want minimum support price of Rs. 350 for a kg of cocoon

As silk farmers are in distress due to steep fall in prices of cocoons, the All India Anti-Dutyfree Silk Import Struggle Committee is preparing to launch a series of agitations, including a bandh in the silk growing districts and a dharna at the Vidhana Soudha.

Meeting next week

Committee convener and Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha general secretary G.C. Bayya Reddy toldThe Hinduhere on Saturday that they will finalise the dates of the agitations at a meeting on May 31 in Bangalore.

The bandh will be organised in major silk-growing districts, including Kolar, Chickballapur, Bangalore Rural and Urban districts, Ramanagaram, Tumkur and Chamarajanagar districts in June, Mr. Bayya Reddy said.

One of the main demands that the protesters will place before the Government is to provide Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs. 350 per kg of cocoon when the prices of cocoons fall.

Mr. Bayya Reddy said that the Centre should revoke its order which reduced duty on import of silk from 31 per cent to five per cent in order to save the sericulture sector which is in the doldrums. The reduction of duty has helped flooding of foreign silk in Indian market posing threat to domestic farmers, he added.

“Governments, both at the Centre and the State, are interested only in safeguarding interests of a handful of big silk industrialists leaving the future of lakhs of families in the lurch”, he said.

The members of Parliament and Union Ministers from Karnataka who represent silk-growing areas – K.H. Muniyappa (Kolar), M. Veerappa Moily (Chickballapur) and S.M. Krishna – have failed to take up the issue with the Centre effectively, Mr. Bayya Reddy alleged.

The pleas and series of struggles in the past seeking a fair deal for silk farmers have gone in vain, he regretted.

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