'Put China trip on hold'

'Put China trip on hold'

State farmers were quarantined in Beijing for four days

 They went to China to study agriculture pattern there. But for four days they were quarantined in a star hotel in Beijing after they were suspected to have contracted swine flu.

On their return to native place, they have a suggestion to the State government - “Don’t send the next batch of farmers till China is free from the threat of swine flu”.

Among 105 farmers in the Government-sponsored study-tour to China, five were separated from the team for medical tests at the Beijing airport on June 19, three days after the trip began. They were kept under observation because a fellow-traveller sitting close to the farmers had symptoms of the flu.

“We don’t know really on what grounds the staff in the airport chose us to keep us under observation. We were quarantined in Jinglun Hotel in Beijing for four days,” said B S Shankarmurthy of Harihar who was quarantined along with four others - Lokesh of Nelamangala, Ramaraju and Aravind Patel of Koppal and Sachhidananda Nayak of Sakrepatna in Kadur.

“Accommodation was very good. The only problem was food as it was tasteless. We banked on Ramaraju of Koppal who had brought jowar rottis from home”, Lokesh recalled.

Communication was another hurdle during their stay in the hotel. The farmers’ team had two translators - one to translate from Chinese to English, and another to translate from English to Kannada. But in the hotel they did not have assistance of translators. An American who was also quarantined in the same hotel came to their help. He was a native of China, but settled in the US. “Two of us who could communicate in English would tell our requirements to the American and he would in turn convey the same to the authorities concerned in the hotel,” Lokesh said.

After the test results proved negative, they went around Shanghai separately as their team members had returned home. They met hi-tech farmers and planters before returning to Bangalore via Hong Kong on June 28.

“We did not miss anything on the trip. We visited places where the rest of our team had visited,” said Aravind Patel, a farmer from Yelburga.

Agriculture minister, on Tuesday, said many parts of China were receiving heavy rains. The next team of farmers would leave for the trip only after rains stop in China.

MLA’s wife, brother also went on jaunt!

BJP MLA M P Renukacharya’s wife Suma, and brother Ramesh were among the 105 farmers who went on the State-sponsored China trip. What is their qualification for the trip? Renukacharya, MLA from Honnali, said both were farmers in true sense and hence, nothing wrong in them going to China! Suma, who stays with his husband in Bangalore, said she looks after their areca and coconut farms in Honnali. She is impressed by cultivation of vegetables in Chinese farms.

“They use a very high quantity of fertilisers compared what we use and get good yield also. I am also thinking of cultivating vegetables in our farm,” she said. Renukacharya’s brother Ramesh is secretary of Bapuji Education Society run by the MLA’s family.

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