N.G. Puttaswamy, farmers’ leader and former president of the Davangere APMC, appealed to Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Minister for Horticulture and APMCs, to demarcate the complete boundary of the APMC yard. He said that many traders and workshop owners have encroached on APMC lands here.

Addressing presspersons here on Tuesday, Mr. Puttaswamy said that over 222 acres of lands had been purchased for the APMC in 1964 by paying an amount of Rs.300 an acre to farmers. Unfortunately, the APMC authorities have failed to safeguard that land.

As a result many traders and hotel and workshop owners have encroached upon APMC lands and established units in the APMC yard, he alleged. He urged the Minister to instruct APMC officials to demarcate the boundary of the APMC and evacuate all those who encroached upon the yard.

He said that he had appealed to the Deputy Commissioner several times, but no action was taken. He noted that even a small bit of land in the yard would be very expensive going by the current land rates. Unless the encroachers were removed, they may even get it registered in the next few years, he added.

Sidelined

Mr. Puttaswamy, who is also a member of the APMC, alleged that farmers’ representatives were being sidelined in the APMC while traders’ representatives were given “undue importance.”

Of the 14-member committee, 13 were elected by farmers and one by the traders, Mr. Puttaswamy said. An amount of Rs. 60 lakh was given to the farmers’ representatives while the traders’ representative was given Rs. 5 crore in the last two and a half years; why did this happen?

He demanded that amendments be made to the APMC Act and equal grants given to all APMC members. To this end, APMC members will meet the Minister soon and ask him to take action.

Punishment

The farmers demanded that the State government punish police officers who opened fire “unwarrantedly” on farmers in Anegod in September 1992, which resulted in two deaths.

They said that jobs should be provided to one member of each victim’s family. The farmers expressed disappointment over the State government’s failure to provide punish the police officers and provide jobs.

Mr. Puttaswamy, along with farmers’ leader Avaragere Rurdumuni, recalled the incident wherein the police had opened fire on farmers agitating against the fertilizer price hike. Since then farmers have been demanding that the police officers who opened fire be punished.

A committee formed some years ago, under the banner of the Raitha Huthtmara Smaranartha Samiti, has observed September 13 as ‘Martyr’s Day’ for 21 years, Mr. Puttaswamy said. This time, apart from remembering the two farmers who died in the firing, a discussion would be held on the problems faced by farmers at present and chalk out steps to pressure the government to solve farmers’ problems.

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