Farmer association seeks relief

President of State Sugarcane Growers’ Association Kurabur Shantakumar lashed out at the state government and demanded relief for drought-affected farmers in the state. “About 70 taluks in the state are facing drought. The State government should declare relief along the lines of Tamil Nadu government for farmers,” he said.

Addressing a press meet after a general body meeting of the association in the city on Tuesday, he said: “For 23 drought-hit districts in Tamil Nadu, the government had released Rs 350 crore. Farmers in Tamil Nadu have received relief to the tune of Rs 15,000 per acre, whereas farmers in Karnataka have not received any compensation.”
Pointing out that it would amount to violation of poll code of conduct if relief was declared now, he said the election commission should allow declaration of relief, considering the welfare of farmers.

Speaking on the proposed bill of the state government to fix sugarcane price, he said representation should be provided to farmers from all sugarcane growing regions in the committee that would frame the bill.

He sought extension of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) works to agriculture as there is shortage in agriculture labourers. He said, the farmers were ready to pay 50 per cent of the wages for the labourers, while the remaining 50 per cent could be paid from NREGA funds.

“Electricity should be supplied for at least 16 hours a day for agricultural pumpsets. If the problem is not addressed, farmers will be forced to take to the streets,” he said.

He said, a national level conference of the association has been scheduled to be held in Bangalore in the last week of May, where remedies for the problems faced by sugarcane growers will be discussed.

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