'This is not the right way to speak about farmers. How can Kumaraswamy call farmers goondas?'
Thousands of farmers driving trucks laden with sugarcane gate-crashed the legislature premises in Belagavi, Karnataka, to protest against the state government's indifference over ensuring minimum support price for sugarcane and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy cancelling a meeting with them to discuss their problems.
Alongside, thousands of farmers poured into Bengaluru to voice their demand of securing a minimum support price for sugarcane.
"Out of 67 sugarcane factories (,em>in Karnataka), more than 30 are run by MLAs and MPs. They are running the show and they are not paying the farmers their dues. These politicians are neglecting farmers," Kuruburu Shantha Kumar, president, Karnataka State Sugarcane Growers Association, tells Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com.
"Before the (assembly) elections Kumaraswamy and his party, the Janata Dal-Secular, had promised to waive the loans of farmers once they came to power. He reiterated this promise to the farmers 24 hours after he became chief minister of Karnataka.
It has been more than six months that they have been in power, but they are still not waiving farm loans. No action has been taken on the ground level and neither has any order been passed to take such action to benefit farmers.
(Note: The Karnataka government in August passed the Karnataka Debt Relieve Bill 2018 which states that loans of farmers taken from non-institutional sources excluding non-banking finance corporations will be null and void, but according to the farmers no action has been taken on the ground.)
"We have been giving the government request letters for the last two months, but no one is taking us seriously.
Kumaraswamy at a public meeting on Sunday called us goondas. This is not the right way to speak about farmers. How can Kumaraswamy call farmers goondas? Are farmers goondas? Kumaraswamy must apologise for his statement.
We came to the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in a peaceful manner. However, we now warn the government that if they don't implement their promises to us and Kumaraswamy doesn't apologise by Tuesday, another 10,000 farmers will join us in Bengaluru.
Out of 67 sugarcane factories, more than 30 are run by MLAs and MPs. They are running the show and they are not paying the farmers their dues. These politicians are neglecting farmers.
The government of Karnataka is not giving a fair remunerative price to farmers for their produce. We have been demanding the implementation of the M S Swaminathan Committee report and that too is not happening.
Eight months ago they (the central government) imported sugar from Pakistan. This added to difficulties of sugarcane growers leading to reducing the price of sugarcane."