21st July, Observing 39th Farmers Martyr Day , Thousands of Farmers, under the banner of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene, blocked National Highways near Huligi Cross in Koppal district on Saturday demanding farm loan waiver and strict implementation of minimum support price.
Addressing the farmers rally Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru sene leaders gave a strong message to the government that “Relief from Debt is not our demand. The Center and the State Government have to plan the policies such that farmers never ask for the debt waiver. This drastic situation has been created by the governments and they are responsible for it. The corrupt governments have pushed the farmer who feeds the entire nation to the roads.”
KRRS honorary president Chmaras Malipatil said that “The Chief Minister, who had promised to waive all the farm loans,has imposed many conditions and agreed to give relief only for the crop loan. “We demand that government write off all the farm loans and give the farmers price for their crops as recommended by Dr Swaminathan in his report,” he said.
Mr Malipatil said the government had not considered the plight of big farmers who took huge loans. “Is the government aware of the plight of big farmers who grow huge quantity of crops taking loans from banks, and suddenly the prices crash. The government cannot reduce the scope of the scheme by putting in number of conditions. It has to waive Rs 1.20 lakh crore,” he added.
Farmers’ leader JM Veerasangaya said that “The state has witnessed many atrocities against the farmers in the recent years. Many false cases have been registered and farmers are struggling with this situation while continuing to fight many other problems of agriculture such as crop and market failure”, he said.
The agitating farmers took the highway under their control for almost 6 hours. They paid tributes to the Naragunda-Navalagunda martyrs and lakhs of other farmers who gave up their life due to erroneous neoliberal policies of the Indian government.
Farmers have warned the government to intensify the protests in the state through another round of actions in the state on Independence day, August 15, if the promises are not fulfilled by the State government.
Main demands of the agitating farmers :
*All the outstanding debt of farmers should be completely waived as stated in the JDS manifesto, the loan waiver should be declared by August 14.
*In the 2nd phase, the government should waive the loan taken for other agricultural purposes such as land development loans, tractor, pumpsets, livestock and fisheries.
*The credit lending policies of the banks should be simplified and access to the institutional credit must be made easy.
*Central government should announce special packages for agriculture and farmers.
*Dr Swaminathan report should be implemented at the earliest.
*Inter state water disputes should be settled. The Mahadayi case should be solved. Special emphasis should be given on extending irrigation to North Karnataka region.
*The Israeli model of farming must be abandoned, sustainable ZBNF model must be implemented
* English should be taught as a language from class 1 in the Government Kannada Medium Schools. The government should not shut down the existing government schools in rural areas and must strengthen the existing school education system in Karnataka.
Link to Facebook live video of the protest.