Tourists on their way to Mysuru to witness the Jamboo Savari, marking the grand finale of Dasara festival, were put to inconvenience as Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) staged a road blockade at eight places including the Mysuru-Bengaluru highway on Wednesday in protest against the State Government’s failure to address their long-pending demands including payment of ₹4,500 for every tonne of sugarcane.
The farmers turned up at the designated spots on the highways leading to Mysuru with sugarcane trucks, carts, tractors, disrupting traffic movement.
The Mysuru-Bengaluru highway was the worst-hit with vehicles piling up for several kilometres due to road blockades at Kirangur circle in Srirangapatna, V. C Farm Gate in Mandya and in Maddur.
Similiar protests were held at Anchedoddi Gate in Malavalli, Yadathore in T. Narsipur, Yelwal on the Mysuru-Hunsur highway and at K.R. Pet.
Superintendent of Mandya district police Yathish said traffic movement was disrupted for about an hour due to the road blockades. But by afternoon, regular traffic movement was restored.
However, large number of travellers including tourists on their way to Mysuru were caught in long traffic snarls. The vehicles, which were diverted through alternative routes, found the countryside roads too narrow and unsuitable to handle the high volume of traffic.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) leader Badagalapura Nagendra told The Hindu that the State Government had been informed that they would have no option, but to resort to road blockades on Vijayadashami Day if their long-pending demands were not addressed.
“We held a mammoth rally in Mandya on September 19 and sent the memorandum to the Government through the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Mandya”, he said.
After they resorted to road blockades, Minister for Excise K. Gopalaiah, who is also the Minister in charge of Mandya district, called Mr. Badagalapura assured the agitating farmers that a meeting will be arranged with the government to discuss their demands before October 15. “We called off the road blockades and facilitated movement of traffic after the assurance was given by the Minister”, he said.
The demands of the farmers included payment of ₹4,500 per ton of sugarcane, fixing of State Advisory Price (SAP) for sugarcane and permanently ban quarrying around KRS reservoir to save the dam, besides opposing the amendment to the Electricity Act