Slamming the Congress government for delaying declaring drought in the State, BJP leaders on Wednesday took exception to the statement of Sugar Minister Shivanand Patil, who has said farmer suicides increased after compensation amount was hiked for such deaths.
Demanding an apology from the Minister, the BJP announced a pro-farmers’ protest led by former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Friday in Bengaluru.
“The Minister’s statement on farmer’s suicide shows the anti-farmer mindset. It is condemnable that the Minister has said that farmer suicides have increased after government enhanced compensation. This government has been following an anti-farmer policy,” former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told presspersons. “It is unfair to say that farmers are dying by suicide for money. Nobody does this. An investigation is done to ascertain the cause of death before compensation is given.” As many as 172 farmers have died by suicide in the last three months for whom the government should declare compensation, he said, adding that farmers should be counselled against taking such extreme measures.
Criticising the government for delaying a declaration of drought, he said the government is yet to announce drought despite poor rains since June. “A declaration of drought will help farmers as crop loss compensation has to be given.” He said that short and mid-term loans of farmers should be converted into long-term loans as the farmers have failed to release crops despite sowing multiple times. As against the target of providing ₹25,000 crore loan to farmers through cooperative sector, just about ₹7,000 crore has been disbursed so far, he added.
BJP State Vice President B.Y. Vijayendra said that government is yet to decide on drought despite a drought-like situation prevailing in more than 196 taluks in the State while surveys were also pointing to the situation. “Farmers are eagerly awaiting a declaration of drought that was to be done last week. The overnment will be responsible for any adverse situation that may develop as a fallout of the situation. The government is spending unnecessarily in the name of guarantees.” The State government has been blaming the Centre for problems, and that writing to the Centre to make drought declaration guidelines flexible was to shift the blame on centre to cover the State government’s failure, he added.
Stating that despite warnings from experts on drought, the government and Ministers have taken the situation lightly. He said that Minister Shivanand Patil’s statement smacks of an anti-farmer mindset. “The Ministers in this government have become arrogant. Mr. Patil should apologise for his statement. The government is also muzzling the voice of the farmers’ protest. In fact, Raitha Sangha has gone to the Supreme Court on the Cauvery water issue which reflects the trust deficit between farmers and the government,” he alleged.
Mr. Vijayendra said that Mr. Yediyurappa will be leading a protest rally in Bengaluru on September 8 in support of farmers. The rally will be attended by party leaders.
(Those in distress or those having suicidal tendencies can call Arogya Sahayavani Ph.: 104 for help.)