Wednesday, July 22, 2015

#RahulGandhi to meet distressed #Karnataka farmers

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is visiting Karnataka today to meet the debt-ridden farmers, who are committing suicide on a daily basis. Five farmers died after committing suicide in Mandya, Kolar, Tumakuru, Ballari and Hassan districts on Tuesday.
At least 13 farmers have reportedly committed suicide in the last three weeks in the water-rich Mandya region.

Farmer organisations have been demanding that the government should fix a minimum base price for sugarcane farmers. Many of them have not been paid their dues despite having a law, the Karnataka Sugarcane (Regulation of Purchase and Supply) Act, 2013, that mandates sugarcane growers being paid their dues within two weeks.

Farmers’ groups have cited negligence by the state and central government on matters like fixing fair prices, payment of arrears by factories and a sugarcane glut as the main reasons for the sudden spike in suicides.

The factory purchase price for sugarcane was fixed at Rs 2,650 per tonne in 2013-14 and Rs 2,200 per tonne in 2014-15. This time, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the price would be at least Rs 2,500 per tonne, but many units are paying farmers only Rs 700-800. This price will not help them get back their investment. This has led to the deaths.

So far, the state government has not fixed a price for the sugarcane and has not interfered to get sugar factories to pay their dues to farmers.