'Inaugurating Dasara, a credit for farmers'

'Inaugurating Dasara, a credit for farmers'

 Puttaiah, the progressive farmer selected to inaugurate Dasara event this year, feels that the privilege was a credit due for farmers.

“The decision to invite a farmer to do the honours is a due credit and respect given to the farming fraternity,” Puttaiah told Deccan Herald.

Sixty-seven-year-old Puttaiah, a Scheduled Caste farmer from HD Kote taluk in Mysuru lives in an undivided family with four brothers and 21 children, 12 males and nine females, all graduates.

The family owns 40 acres of land, where they have been cultivating a variety of crops and grains like ragi, maize, groundnuts and practise sericulture  besides having a plantation of coconut, mango, banana, jackfruit, chiku etc.

Puttaiah is also into cattle rearing, sheep rearing, pisciculture and other occupations. The family kitchen is run on alternative energy.

The State government had invited Kadidal Shamanna, another progressive farmer, to inaugurate the Navarathri extravaganza. However, he had turned down the request.

Farmer leaders, including K S Puttannaiah, Kurubur Shanthakumar and Kodihalli Chandrashekar too have refused to inaugurate or participate in Dasara event.

They feel that the government, instead of spending crores of rupees on festivities, should divert the same towards the welfare of farmers reeling under agrarian crisis.

‘Best Farmer’ award

What may have tilted in favour of Puttaiah is his vast experience of  48 years in agriculture that fetched him the ‘Best Farmer’ award in the year 2014-15, sure to instil confidence among others, especially at the time when the farmers in the State are committing suicide over crop loss and mounting debt.

Puttaiah says that Karnataka has been witness to acute drought conditions even in the past, but that did not stop the government from conducting Dasara.

“We can’t let adverse situations take over our lives nor can we afford to discontinue our traditional rituals and practices. More than ever, we are now in need of Goddess Chamundeshwari’s blessings,” he said.

No loan borrowed

Puttaiah said that the recent bout of farmer suicides had shook the entire farming community.

“A lot of these cases are genuine - may be not all of them. But this is due to heavy borrowings the farmers made. Till date, I haven’t borrowed a single penny from either the bank or money lenders. We have always believed that agriculture is not less than a government job. We also haven’t indulged in lavish weddings. Our lifestyle is simple.”

The State government has scaled down the Dasara expenditure from the near Rs 15 crore, to Rs four crore.

Spl illumination at KRS

A special illumination has been made at Brindavan Gardens in Krishnarajasagar (KRS) in Mandya district in view of Dasara from October 1 to January 31, 2016.

Tourists and public will be allowed entry on weekdays. The illumination timings will be between 6.30 and 7.30 pm from Monday to Friday and 6.30 pm and 8.30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

‘Govt should take over Mysore palace’

Kadidal Shamanna, a progressive farmer who refused to inaugurate the Dasara festivities this year, has urged the State government to take possession of Mysore palace and use the building for setting up offices.

Speaking at a programme at Hampi University at Hosapete on Saturday, Shamanna said that the programmes being organised at the Mysore palace on the occasion of Dasara make a mockery of democratic form of governance.

Recalling that during his student days he had thrown stone on the jamboo savari, Shamanna said that the traditional rituals at the palace were against the aspirations of the Constitution and his conscience did not permit him to inaugurate the festivities at a time when farmers were committing suicide due to agrarian crisis.

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