Oppn forces discussion on arrears

Government hand in glove with factories, charges Shettar

Oppn forces discussion on arrears
Chaos marked the proceedings in the Assembly on Monday, the first day of the monsoon session of the legislature here. Principal opposition party, the BJP, demanded a discussion on the serious issue of farmers’ suicides and the government’s failure to ensure that the previous year dues of farmers who supplied sugarcane to the sugar factories are cleared.

After the obituary references, Opposition members led by leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar demanded discussion on the adjournment motion moved by him on the government’s failure to ensure that the dues of Rs 960 crore for the previous year and over Rs 3000 crore for the sugarcane supplied in the previous crushing season are cleared.

Holding Chief Minister Siddaramaiah responsible for the farmers’ suicides, Shettar said that he had no moral right to continue and should resign. Assurances by the chief minister during the previous session were not met and the same problems were being debated in successive sessions, he said.

Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande said that the government was open for a debate, but BJP member R Ashoka demanded that the government clear the dues first.

BJP members Govind Karjol, Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri and others echoed the demands of their leaders.

Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa suggested that the Opposition members could take up the issue after the Question Hour, but it was turned down by the Opposition. Shettar said that the chief minister who had been introducing various schemes with the ‘bhagya’
suffix had given ‘savina bhagya’ (wealth of death) to the farmers.

Siddaramaiah said that his government was pro-farmer and pro-poor and they were ready for discussions on the adjournment motion moved by the Opposition. Earlier, BJP members rushed to the well of the House with the government not deciding on allowing discussions on farmers’ issues. They relented after the discussions began.

Shettar said that the growers of grapes and pomegranate too were suffering. The existence of the Agriculture Price Commission formed by the government two years ago had become questionable.

“The government is hand in glove with the sugar factories. Hence, the problems of
farmers have not been resolved.” Steps should be taken by the government to instil confidence among the farmers, he said.

The Sugarcane Transport and Control Act gives sufficient powers to the government to file criminal cases against factories that have defaulted in paying dues, but its provisions have not been utilised.

The sugarcane industry has been generating huge revenue for the government. Among the taxes collected, 10 to 25 per cent should be used by the government to help sugar cane growers, he said.

Karjol demanded that measures be taken to curb cheating by sugar factories in weighing the cane supplied and for deducting from the amount mentioned in the bill based on the quality of the sugar cane.

Congress member Ramesh Kumar said that the agriculture credit policy was faulty as farmers were not getting the benefit of loans from the cooperative sector, with some crops not being covered by them. Commercial banks were charging high interest rates and farmers could never come out of debts.

Earlier, the House paid tributes to former members Vithalrao Yashwantrao Chavan and B S Veerabhadrappa who passed away recently.

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