Farmers from Belagavi had staged protests outside Vidhana Soudha, demanding that their arrears from sugar factories be paid immediately.

Calling farmers goons was not meant in bad faith Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy says
news Politics Monday, November 19, 2018 - 15:22

After calling Karnataka’s protesting sugarcane farmers 'goondas,'  Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Monday said he was “hurt” and did not mean it in bad faith.

“I was hurt when some comments were made about me during the Belagavi protest. But my reaction did not have any mala fide intention. It’s unfortunate that my words were not understood in the way I meant it,” Kumaraswamy told the media on Monday.

In a speech on Sunday, Kumaraswamy said, "Our farmers are tolerant and peace-loving. When I go to meet them (farmers) in villages, they remove their footwear, keep them aside and greet us. But, what we witnessed recently is anarchy. They're (farmers) attitude is similar to burglars. Our media friends beautifully highlighted how some tried to break-into the Suvarna Soudha. Do you call them farmers? There is a limit to my patience. Those people who are behaving that way are not farmers. They've destroyed the integrity of farmers, they're goondas."

He was roundly criticised for his comments, including by Karnataka BJP President BS Yeddyurappa. On Monday, Kumaraswamy also requested for more time for the farm loan waiver to be implemented and assured the farmers that he would make it his “priority” to address their issues.

“Loan waiver is not the ultimate solution. It will help farmers become free of debt. The government has decided to waive off loans in cooperative and commercial banks. We are in the last stage of
implementation and it will happen soon,” Kumaraswamy said in a statement.

Kumaraswamy said that the implementation process was delayed as the accounts of thousands of farmers had to be verified before the loan is waived off.

 “I request farmers to have patience. Officials are working night and day to make the loan waiver happen. But nothing can happen overnight,” he added.

Kumaraswamy said that a meeting was arranged for Tuesday at Vidhana Soudha to discuss the issue of loan waiver and that a resolution would be passed in this regard.

Protests continued outside Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru as sugarcane cultivators demanded that the government return the money owed to them by the sugar factory owners. The farmers demanded an apology while protesting outside Vidhana Soudha as well as that loan waivers be
implemented immediately.

“In view of the falling prices, the state government should ensure a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 3,000 per tonne for sugarcane with 9.5% recovery and help us get arrears for the sugarcane we have supplied to factory owners last year. We have not yet got our money back. Some farmers have not got money for two to three years,” said Siddanna Gouda, a farmer leader from Belagavi.

The Siddaramaiah government had fixed the minimum support price at Rs 2,500 in 2017. Agitating farmers say that cost of initial investment, harvesting and transportation have increased, leaving the famers with meagre remuneration. In addition, the sugar factory owners have not paid up arrears since 2017.

 

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