Ballari farmers' protest mars Krishi Mela inaugural

Ballari farmers' protest mars Krishi Mela inaugural

Power supply after midnight forces us to work in the dark, they say

Ballari farmers' protest mars Krishi Mela inaugural

The four-day Krishi Mela-2015, organised by the University of Agriculture Sciences, Bangalore (UAS-B), was inaugurated here on Thursday amid protest by a small section of farmers from Ballari.

Minutes after the annual mela was inaugurated by Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala, a group of farmers from Kudligi taluk of Ballari district raised their voice against the indifference of the government to their problems. M Basavaraj, one of the farmers, said that power supply was only between 1 am and 3 am in their area.

“There is intermittent power supply. Only past midnight, we work in our fields. How can the government push farmers to risk their lives and work in the fields at midnight,” he said.

The group of farmers claimed that there have been several deaths in the past when bears and leopards attacked farmers who stepped out late in the night.

In his inaugural address, Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda said the State was going through a tough time due to a number

of problems. “While parts of North Karnataka are facing drought, places down south have seen excessive rainfall. Either way, farmers have been  victims of nature’s fury,” he said.

He promised the farmers of a discussion with the Energy minister. Power would be purchased from neighbouring states to meet the demand, if need be.

Urging farmers to make best use of the technology available, he said that it was not possible to find a solution to their problems if they still look at farming from an emotional perspective and as a tradition.

There are 600 stalls at the Krishi Mela this time, according to Dr H Shivanna, chancellor of UAS-B. A one-on-one interaction of experts with farmers will be facilitated during the agri fair. Matsya Mela, which was organised for the first time as part of the Krishi Mela, drew a good number of schoolchildren. Fish of various sizes and colours which were on display brought smiles on their faces.

On the occasion, Mutthanna Bheerappa Poojara of Hanagal taluk (Haveri district) was conferred with Late C Byregowda State-level award, Dr M H Marigowda award on H L Naresh from Sakaleshpur (Hassan dist) and Siddalingeshwara Veerappa Kaliwala of Haveri district.

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