Farmers’ stir cripples traffic

Choc-a-Bloc: Traffic snarls at Sheshadri Road following the farmers’ protest march on Monday. DH Photo/S K Dinesh

Hundreds of farmers alighted at the City Railway Station in Majestic on Monday morning and marched towards Freedom Park, protesting against the government for ignoring their demands. 

Farmers from different districts of the state such as Belagavi, Mandya, Kolar and Kodagu arrived in the city and threatened to lay siege to the Vidhana Soudha if Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy did not redress their grievances. 

Woman farmers too, joined the protest and criticised the chief minister for his controversial remarks about a woman who questioned him during a public meeting. 

Heavy security

Around five platoons of KSRP personnel were deployed near the City Railway Station, Freedom Park and Vidhana Soudha. Water cannons and tear gas vehicles were on standby. The police had granted permission to the farmers to hold peaceful protests at Freedom Park, but did not allow them to move towards the Vidhana Soudha. 

A large number of sugarcane farmers had arrived from Mandya, demanding that canes be purchased for Rs 3,500 per quintal and not at the present rate of Rs 2,000. 

“The chief minister had claimed that his priority was to address the grievances of the farmers of the state. He had promised loan waivers... It is over five months now and the CM has forgotten his words,” said Rony Mendonsa, a farmer from South Canara. 

The farmers said the government should consider a good price for the harvest. They were promised special packages for drought-affected regions, especially rural areas, but nothing has materialised. Dams are filled to the brim, but 114 taluks are hit by drought. 

A Kodagu farmer said that after the recent calamities, coffee estates, pepper, cardamom and other crops have failed and the farmers were still struggling without any proper rehabilitation. 

Traffic chaos

Traffic movement around Freedom Park and Majestic station was disrupted after the farmers gathered in large numbers. 

They took out a procession from the City Railway Station to Freedom Park around 9.30 am, causing traffic snarls along the stretch. The Upparpet traffic police soon closed the stretch from Anand Rao Circle to K R Circle for vehicle movement. This caused confusion, leading to a pile-up. 

The protest at Freedom Park started around 10.30 am. The police restricted the farmers to an inside road and restored traffic after a while. 

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