‘Declare natural calamity as national disaster’

U M Theerthamallesh.

Karnataka Growers’ Federation President U M Theerthamallesh has urged the Central government to declare damages caused by the natural calamity in Kodagu, Hassan and Chikkamagaluru districts as a national disaster. 

Speaking to reporters, he said, “Coffee, pepper and arecanut plantations have been damaged in the rain. The coffee and pepper vines have turned yellow and the beans have started withering. The landslides have taken a toll on the plantations. The total loss incurred in the three districts is around Rs 2,500 crore.”  

“Those who have submitted applications under Form No 50, 53, 57 to regularise their land and have lost their plantations in the landslides should be earmarked alternative land for livelihood. The long term farm loans availed by coffee growers from commercial and cooperative banks should be readjusted for seven years. Concession of three years should be given for repayment of loans,” he demanded. 

There are 25,000 cases against farmers and growers in the special courts in connection with the encroachment of land. All the cases should be withdrawn, he said. 

Further, he said there are over 200 elephants inside the forests in Hassan, Kodagu and Chikkamagaluru districts. Collar IDs should be installed on these elephants.

The rail track fence should be erected on the periphery of the forest to prevent the entry of elephants to the villages. Rapid action teams should be increased to chase elephants back to forest, he added. 

Stating that 65,000 tonnes of black pepper has entered the country through smuggling from Sri Lanka and Nepal, he said there are possibilities of slashing of the price of pepper in the domestic market. The customs officials should be vigilant and prevent smuggling. 

He urged the Centre to release compensation for the loss of horticultural and agricultural crops. The government should come forward to solve the problems faced by the growers. The Federation is planning to boycott the Coffee convention to be organised by the Central government. 

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