Silk growers to write lakhs of letters to PM

Silk growers to write lakhs of letters to PM

Unique protest

Sericulturists and reelers across the State have decided to write over one lakh letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding ban on duty-free import of silk.

As per the protest plan, the Prime Minister will receive 20,000 letters each from Chikkaballapur, Kolar, Ramanagara, Mandya districts, 10,000 from Bangalore Rural, and 5,000 each from Tumkur and Bangalore Urban districts.

A silk grower at Shildaghatta said the committee against duty-free import of silk dispatched 750 letters from the taluk on Thursday.  They had observed bundhs at district levels previous year.

The silk growers said they were forced to stage the protest through letters as the State and the Central governments did not heed their demands. Their demands included, apart from the ban, to fix a support price for cocoons. They said a minimum of Rs 350 a kg should be fixed for the cocoons and duty on the import should be increased to 31 per cent, they said.

The silk growers and reelers from all the six taluks in the district would take part in the protest.  Majority of the population in Chikkaballapur, Kolar and Ramanagara districts are dependent on sericulture for their livelihood and they have been affected by the neglegence and hostile policies of the governments, the silk growers said.

Yaluvahalli Sonnegowda, the district convenor of district sericulturists welfare forum, in conversation with Deccan Herald, said the Government, which is vocal in its claim to present a separate budget for agriculture, is silent over the plight of sericulturists. Unable to bear the loss, several silk growers have committed suicide and many others have migrated to other sectors, he said.