Council defers Question Hour to discuss issue

In a rare move, the Legislative Council skipped the Question Hour when the monsoon session of the State Legislature began here on Monday, and instead, took up a discussion on the issue of sugar cane farmers considering it a “special occasion”.

Right at the beginning of the session, leader of the Opposition in the Council, K S Eshwarappa, sought an adjournment motion under Rule 59 and a discussion on the issue of arrears to be paid to sugar cane growers. After he made the preliminary submission, leader of the House and IT-BT Minister S R Patil stated that the government was pro-farmer and was ready to debate the issue on top priority.

Council chairman D H Shankarmurthy said, “This is a special occasion and this is the first and last time I will allow this. In the Council, we do not have the practice of allowing discussion under Rule 59, and therefore, we will do so under Rule 69. The Question Hour will be taken up after discussing the issue of sugar cane growers.”

‘Pay from treasury’
Eshwarappa urged the government to immediately pay the amount due to sugar cane growers from its treasury and recover it after auctioning the seized sugar. Basavaraj Horatti of the JD(S), Ramachandre Gowda of the BJP, and others seconded him.

“The sugar lobby, which has no party, is controlling the government. The government has failed to fulfil its promise of paying Rs 2,650 per tonne of sugar cane and has also not followed the court order in this regard. Horticulture Minister Shamanur Shivashankarappa opposed the chief minister’s statement on seizing sugar from factories. He should have done so after resigning as minister. What value is the CM’s decision of, if a member of his Cabinet opposes it,” Eshwarappa asked.

Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda clarified that the government had paid the incentive amount announced for sugar cane growers, but sugar factories had kept their share of payment pending.

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