Bengaluru

Siddaramaiah's appeal to farmers

With the spate of suicides of debt-ridden farmers in Karnataka showing no signs of abating, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah went on air on Saturday morning appealing to them not to take the extreme step and assuring that his government was with them.

“Let us find a collective solution to the problems,” he said in his ‘Dil ki Baat’ broadcast, a title seemingly derived from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat.’

On moneylenders

The Chief Minister promised to crack down on moneylenders charging exorbitant interest rates and harassing citizens. He appealed to people to tip off the police on exploitative money lenders.

Starting his broadcast on an emotional note, the Chief Minister said it was hard for him to find words to console them. “I, a farmer’s son, understand the difficulties and sorrows of farmers. Your suffering and grief is as much mine,” said Mr. Siddaramaiah. He had made his political debut through the farmers’ movement and his loyalty with the cause would continue with or without power, he added.

“It is a riddle to me why there is a sudden spurt in suicides, which had seen a dip in the last two years,” he said, admitting that there had already been over 70 suicides reported this year. He went on to list the financial allocations made by his government over the last two years, including waiver of interest on farm loans, and measures initiated after the sudden spurt in suicides since June.

There is a proposal to open counseling centres in co-ordination with Health Department exclusively for farmers, said Mr. Siddaramaiah.

Appeal to Opposition

Appealing to the Opposition not to “use farmers like political pawns”, the Chief Minister said this was no time to “calculate political gains and losses”, and leaders across the board should focus on building confidence among farmers.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 1:38:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/siddaramaiahs-appeal-to-farmers/article7438361.ece

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