Sericulturists stage protest against duty-free policy

State produces 60 pc of silk in India, but we are neglected

Before this policy was implemented, one kg of cocoon fetched Rs 310. “But now we get just Rs 160. This has led to heavy loss. The sericulture is being neglected,” said P R Suryanarayan, president, district unit of Karnataka Prantha Raita Sangha.

The Centre’s decision to reduce import duty on silk from 31 per cent to just five per cent has led to many problems. The government is neglecting the sericulturists and silk thread weavers but is favouring silk traders, he alleged.

Neglect
He also said that the State produces 60 per cent of the total silk in the country, Still, the State government has failed in finding a solution to the problem by discussing the matter with the centre. “We spend Rs 325 to produce one kg of cocoon. But according to government policy, we get support price of Rs 30 only when the market rate for a kg of cocoon falls below Rs 160. This is not right, as it is not going to help sericulturists in any way.”­

If the State government is concerned about sericulturists, the Chief Minister should call a meeting of the farers and reelers and discuss the matter, he challenged. Action should be taken to withdraw cases against the farmers and support price for cocoon should be decided considering the effect on the local sericulturists, Suryanarayan urged the State government.

Then the protestors submitted a memorandum to the tahsildar. B N Narayanagowda, president of Sericulturists’ Progress Association Taluk unit, Secretary Nagappa, Deputy Incharge Huhalli Babu and others participated in the protest.

‘Fix Rs 350’
Sericulturists of Kolar district staged a protest in front of the cocoon market in Kolar city on Tuesday, demanding that the State government fix Rs 350 support price per kg of cocoon in the market.

Protest was led by the Akhila Bharata Horata Samithi, which is against duty-free import of silk. They demanded the Central government to withdraw decision to fix just Rs 30 as supporting price.

They alleged that these problems are prevailing from more than a year. Inspite of repeated requests, none of the authorities have shown interest in solving these problems.

Committee leaders Munisonnappa, T M Venkatesh, C L Nagaraj, Arjun, T Krishnegowda and others were present on the occasion.

Second day of indefinite strike
Farmers in Shidlaghatta continued their stir that started on Monday against Centre’s duty-free silk import policy. They recited verses of Kaivara Tataiah through the night to keep the crowd engaged.

“Silk is not like other crops, we have to tend to it daily. Some of us participate in the strike and others continue the work and we go to work when they come back. Unless the government considers our problems seriously and gives solution, we will not stop our protest,” said Sericulturists’ Welfare Association Secretary, Mallur Harish.

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