Bengaluru: Farmers across Mandya, considered the epicentre of the Karnataka farmers’ movement, will hit the streets on Tuesday to raise fresh demands to waive off their loans.
Chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy had sought a fortnight’s time to get details from the farming community before passing a resolution on the farm loan waiver. With the 15-day deadline ending and no debt relief in sight, the farmers have decided to raise the heat on the state government.
“Every bit of information that was sought from us has been submitted to the deputy commissioner’s office. However, there seems to be absolutely no movement on the loan waiver promise," Somanahalli Suresh, a farmer leader from Mandya said.
The farmers are now caught between a good monsoon and the lack of fresh credit as the sowing season begins. Most institutional lenders have said that fresh loans will be given only when the previous arrears are dealt with.
Farmers say that the government should at least direct lending institutions to give fresh credit to help them go in for sowing, even if the farm loan waiver takes more time.
The Janata Dal (Secular) had in its election manifesto promised to waive off Rs53,000 crore farm loans. No progress on this front has led farmer groups to protest against the JD(S)-Congress coalition government.
Farmers in the state held several protests last year demanding a complete loan waiver. The partial loan waiver of Rs8,165 crore, which was announced by former chief minister Siddaramaiah, did not help in reducing the debt burden of the community.
The rain fury in many parts of Karnataka and neighbouring states has added to the troubles of the community.
The Karnataka chief minister on Sunday had requested the centre to foot half the bill of Rs53,000 crore farm loan waiver to support the farmers in the state.
On Monday, Kumaraswamy wrote to Union home minister Rajnath Singh seeking higher allocation for disaster relief. “As far as the state disaster relief fund (SDRF) allocation is concerned, Karnataka has been allocated only Rs1,527 crore for a five-year period from 2015-16 to 2019-20, whereas other states such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have been allocated Rs8,195 crore, Rs6,094 crore, Rs4,847 crore and Rs3,394 crore, respectively. Hence, the state government had requested for enhancement of SDRF allocation to Rs3,050.72 crore," he wrote.