Bengaluru, Nov 19 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy will hold talks with agitating sugarcane farmers on their demands for a higher minimum support price and settling dues from state-run and private mills, said an official on Monday.
“Kumaraswamy has called for a meeting with sugarcane farmers, mill owners and officials at the state secretariat on Tuesday to discuss their demands and problems, said the official from the chief minister’s office in a statement here.
The meeting has been convened a day after hundreds of farmers, including their womenfolk on Sunday staged protests at Belagavi against the state government’s alleged indifference over ensuring minimum support price (MSP) for their cane and settling their dues from mill owners.
The Chief Minister also advised the farmers staging the protest in the city on Monday to have patience and sought time to address their demands, including loan waiver, higher MSP for sugarcane and supply of seeds and fertilizers for the rabi crop.
“I appeal to the farmers to be patient as the government is committed to find solutions to their problems. I held meetings with officials and stakeholders on demands of sugarcane growers. I have directed the district deputy commissioners to resolve their issues,” said the statement citing the Chief Minister.
Though debt waiver was not a solution to the farmers’ woes, Kumaraswamy said the state government was working hard to waive off farm loans taken from cooperative, scheduled and state-run banks.
“I hope the waiver will enable the farmers to seek fresh loans for the next crop. The loan waiver will begin soon as the process is at the final stage,” said the chief minister.
Claiming that the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government was pro-farmer, Kumaraswamy said a permanent solution was being worked out to ensure that farmers would not have to protest or resort to an agitation.
“I have been always on the side of farmers and don’t have bias against those from the northern or southern regions of the state. All are equal and same for me.
Terming the police action against protesting farmers at Belagavi on Sunday when they barged into the premises of the district secretariat, Kumaraswamy said in a democracy everyone had the right to protest but not break the law.
“As the loan waiver amount is about Rs 48,000 crore, we need time and workforce to verify each account. I want farmers to be patient and not be desperate,” added the Chief Minister.