Karnataka: Sugarcane farmers call off protest after CM Kumaraswamy's assurances
Sugarcane farmers in Karnataka, who were threatening to lay siege on the state government headquarters in Bengaluru on Monday demanding minimum support price for cane produce and payment of arrears by factories, called off their protest following assurances by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to address their concerns at a meeting with farmers and sugar factory owners on Tuesday.
Sugarcane farmers — from north Karnataka districts of Belagavi and Bagalkot — on Sunday stormed Suvarna Soudha building in Belagavi after Kumaraswamy cancelled a meeting with farmers in the region and instead decided to hold it in Bengaluru.
Farmers gathered in large numbers in Bengaluru on Monday and threatened to lay seige at the government headquarters over the CM’s decision to postpone Sunday’s meeting. A statement by the CM on Sunday asking if farmers seeking payment of arrears from sugar factories were sleeping over the last four years also angered the farmers.
A glut in sugarcane production in districts like Belagavi and a steep decline in sugar prices have resulted in farmers being stuck with huge amounts of produce and few buyers for the cane. The farmers are demanding MSP of Rs 3,000 per tonne as against Rs 2,500 given last year by the Congress government and payment of arrears by factories.
JDS CM Kumaraswamy assured farmers that a decision favourable to them would be taken on Tuesday. “I have called a meeting on Tuesday to address the issues of sugarcane farmers and factory owners. I am confident the meeting will throw up a decision that is favourable to farmers,” he said on Monday.
Following the assurances, the farmers decided to give the government 15 days to implement a plan to address their concerns.