Byadgi farmers protest drop in price of chillies, APMC market vandalised

The prices of chilli varieties, which had been at Rs 20,000 per quintal, fell to Rs 8,000 on March 11.
Four wheeler, fire truck set on fire in Byadgi
Four wheeler, fire truck set on fire in ByadgiTwitter/VoiceOfHubballi
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Byadgi town in Karnataka’s Haveri district was rocked by violent protests on Monday, March 11, resulting in minor injuries to a few people and significant damage to property and vehicles. The unrest, reportedly triggered by a sudden drop in the prices of chilli varieties due to an influx of produce, saw several individuals, including police and fire personnel, sustaining minor injuries. The injured are receiving treatment at the government hospital in Byadgi.

The protests erupted at the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) yard in Byadgi, where angry farmers, dismayed by the plummeting prices of chillies, reportedly resorted to violence. The prices of chilli varieties, which had been at Rs 20,000 per quintal, tumbled to Rs 8,000 on Monday. This was reportedly due to the significant influx of chillies at the Byadgi APMC market, with over 3 lakh quintals on Monday, resulting in a considerable decline in chilli prices, much to the dissatisfaction of local farmers. 

Reports indicate that the protesters set fire to the APMC office and torched several vehicles, including a fire engine dispatched to the scene. They also pelted stones at the APMC office, vandalised the premises, and caused extensive damage to furniture and windows. Additionally, two cars and 10 bikes belonging to the APMC staff were reportedly destroyed.

The situation escalated as protesters allegedly tackled police and emergency services personnel, leading to them fleeing the site. 

Additional police forces had to be called in to take control of the situation. Byadgi police are investigating the case. Home Minister G Parameshwara stated that the government has taken serious note of the incident.

Reacting to the incident, Leader of Opposition R Ashoka said, "It is a direct consequence of CM Siddaramaiah-led Congress government's anti-farmer policies and lackadaisical attitude in managing drought situation, which has left the farmers completely dismayed and annoyed. If only the Congress government had addressed the farmers' issues proactively and distributed sufficient drought relief at the right time, the farmers wouldn't have taken such a desperate step to vandalise the APMC premises."

"At least now, CM Siddaramaiah should wake up from deep slumber and provide a guarantee of drought relief to annadatas (providers of food). Else, the day is not far when desperate farmers will set ablaze the CM's residence and Vidhana Soudha," he said.

With inputs from IANS

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