Silk growers to stage hunger strike from Nov 14

Silk growers to stage hunger strike from Nov 14

Apathy of Centre and State govts adds to ire of sericulturists in district

The intense agitation taken out by the growers in Ramanagara and Channapatna has spilt in the district too as their agonising wait for the measures to alleviate sufferings due to fall in price for the past six months was futile.

Source of income

Majority of the farmers in Chikkaballapur, Kolar and Ramanagar districts have depended on sericulture as their main source of income. They were upset that the Centre and the State had not responded though many growers committed suicide due to the crash in the price, the farmers said.

The price, which was Rs 310 in January and February, suddenly dipped to Rs 100 to Rs 160 per kg. They have demanded a minimum support price of Rs 350 per kg of cocoons, ban on duty-free import of silk, increase in duty on imported silk by 31 per cent.

Continued fight

They have been staging protests under the banner of district Pranta Raita Sangha and district sericulturists welfare forum. The government has not responded to any of their protests, including the districtwide bundh called on July 30.

Now, the affected growers have formed a larger network - an all India committee of sericulturists against duty-free import. A delegation of sericulturists to New Delhi met Union Minister Pranab Mukharjee and submitted a memorandum.

But, none of the ministers,  including Veerappa Moily, who was elected from Chikkaballapur, has responded to their woes, the farmers said.

“Now, the banks also have stopped extending loan facilities to the sericultirists and we are forced to pledge our assets,” said sericulturists welfare association convenor Yaluvahalli Sonnegowda.

He said they wouldn’t buy the assurances of elected represenatitives any more and would resort to hunger strike for an indefinite period in front of the cocoon market in Shidlaghatta.