Haveri, Oct 10, 2015 (PTI): Providing succour to distressed farmers, the Karnataka government today announced waiver of interest and penal interest on crop loans from cooperative banks for the current fiscal and hike in compensation from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to families of farmers who had committed suicide.
The government would also increase monthly widow pension from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 and bear educational expenses of children up to post-graduation level in the families of farmers who had committed suicide, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said.
Siddaramaiah made the announcement at a rally at Gudugur in Haveri district in north Karnataka in the presence of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to the state which has seen a sudden jump in suicides with 541 farmers taking away their lives in the last six months.
Rahul, who visited distress hit Mandya district yesterday, had hinted at a relief package. He undertook a padayatra and interacted with farmers in Haveri district, besides addressing the rally today.
Siddaramaiah said the compensation in case of suicides would also be applicable to landless labourers.
Cooperative banks had also been asked to reschedule loans and defer recovery of instalments for a year, he said.
Siddaramaiah said the state government would also work towards getting higher Minimum Support Price, a subject that fell within the Centre’s purview, for paddy, jowar and ragi.
The government, he said, had also ordered a crackdown on moneylenders who were fleecing the farmers and more than 1,300 cases had been booked against them with 568 arrested. “We will work for waiver of loans borrowed from money lenders also,” he said.
Siddaramaiah appealed to the farmers not to commit suicide, saying “it is not the solution” and the government was with them in their crisis. The state has been facing severest drought for the past 10 years, suffering a crop loss of Rs 16,000 crore, he said.
Haveri : Rahul on padayatra, meets and comforts distressed farmers
Haveri (Karnataka) (PTI): Undertaking a padayatra and interacting with
farmers, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today counselled the peasants not to commit suicide as it was no solution to their problems.
On the second day of his tour of Karnataka to comfort the distressed families of farmers who had committed suicide, Rahul started about a seven-km long padayatra from Maidur village in Haveri district of north Karnataka.
At the first stop of his padayatra, the Congress MP had interactions with students at Maidur higher primary school.
Asked how he would solve the farmers’ problems if he became the Prime Minister, Rahul said the country should be run by the citizens and they should be empowered to solve their problems.
During his interaction with farmers, he urged them not to commit suicide because it is not the solution. He met the farmers at Kandebagur helipad in Rannebennur, where they raised concern over Kalasa-Banduri row between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The farmers urged Rahul to exhort pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and request President Pranab Mukherjee to intervene to resolve the matter. About 50 farmers from Nargund and Navalgund and Hubli-Dharwad were present.
The Kalasa-Banduri Nala (diversion) project, to utilise 7.56 tmcft of water from the inter-state Mahadayi river, is being undertaken by Karnataka to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and the districts of Belagavi and Gadag, over which Goa has reservations.
Protests are on by several organisations and farmers across districts of North Karnataka demanding implementation of Kalasa-Banduri project.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, also in charge of party affairs in Karnataka, and KPCC President G Parameshwara are accompanying Rahul during his outreach to farmers.
Rahul had visited Mandya district yesterday. The visit of Rahul to Mandya and Haveri districts comes against the backdrop of a sudden rise in farmers suicides in the last six months in Karnataka with 541 peasants taking away their lives. Mandya and Haveri districts were the most affected by distress driven suicides.