Pointing to the widespread destruction of red gram on vast tracts of land in Kalaburagi, Bidar and Yadgir districts, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah has said that the Agriculture Minister has not visited affected farm fields and taken no action to pay relief to the affected farmers.
“In the Assembly, I asked the Agriculture Minister whether he visited the fields to take stock of the situation wherein red gram crop has been affected due to wilt disease and take steps to pay compensation. The Minister said that he did not visit as he was suffering from ill health. If his health was not good, he should have resigned and taken rest. Not a single rupee of compensation has been paid so far to red gram growers who have suffered huge losses after their crop was affected by wilt disease,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.
He was speaking at a public meeting organised as part of the Praja Dhwani Yatra at Aland in Kalaburagi district on Tuesday.
Recalling the initiatives that the successive Congress governments had taken for helping crisis-ridden farmers, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre had waived farm loans to the tune of ₹72,000 crore and the State government led by him had waived ₹8,167 crore farm loans borrowed by 22.27 lakh farmers from cooperative banks.
“Did the former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa or Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai waive a single rupee of farm loan during their tenure? Today, the prices of essential commodities are skyrocketing. The price of a bag of 50-kg DAP fertilizer has shot up to ₹1,450 from ₹450 a few years ago. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to meet his promise of doubling farm income,” he said.
Commending the former Aland MLA B.R. Patil, who was defeated in the last Assembly elections by BJP’s Subhash Guttedar, as a politician of ethics and morality, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that the defeat of candidates like Mr. Patil amounted to the defeat of the entire constituency.
“Mr. Patil and I entered politics at the same time. I became Chief Minister and he did not even become a Minister. He is a man of ethics who has been consistently raising his voice against injustice, oppression and exploitation. I feel very bad when I think of his defeat. The candidate who won against Mr. Patil knows nothing about politics. He is a businessman and has no care for the people who voted for him. Mr. Patil should not get defeated in the next elections. If the Congress comes to power, Mr. Patil has a bright future,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said, appealing to the people of Aland to vote for Mr. Patil in the upcoming elections and send him to the Assembly.
Pointing to the Congress promise of providing 200 units of free electricity to every household and pay ₹2,000 a month to every woman head of a family in the State, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that the promises were signed jointly by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D.K. Shivakumar and him and he will ensure that they are fulfilled.