Karnataka Farmers’ Association Calls for Bandh Over Farmers’ Suicides

The sugarcane farmers’ associations in Karnataka have called for a bandh on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 which may see some key areas of northern and northwestern Karnataka closed, while Bangalore and southern Karnataka districts will remain unhit due to it.

While it is unlikely to hit normal life in Bangalore and across Karnataka, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) officials said there will be no disruption in bus services tomorrow.

Otherwise, autos and taxis will run as usual in Bangalore. Many schools remain closed on Saturday but those on six-day a week schedule may opt to remain open, except in those districts where bandh will be forced upon them by activists.

All hospitals, medical shops will remain open.bandh

The bandh was called by Karnataka State Sugarcane Growers’ Association (KSSGA) in protest against Karnataka government’s apathy to the rising farmer suicides in the state.

KSSGA president Kurubur Shanthakumar said the state-wide bandh was the culmination of one-month old strike going on in the state by farmers. “In order to put pressure on the authorities, the association will observe a bandh and also be part of the agitation till the demand is met,” he told the New Indian Express.

The farmers’ demands include waiving off of crop loans from nationalised and cooperative banks as the drought situation in the state has adversely affected agricultural production. The farmers are also demanding a Vidarbha-like Package of Rs.10,000 crore for Karnataka.

Other demands include compensation of families of farmers who committed suicide to the extent to Rs. 10 lakh, raising issue price of sugarcane, implement the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project, that was stalled in 2002 due to objections raised by Goa. The project was to provide drinking water to Belgaum, Dharwad and Gadag districts.

Apart from Sept. 5 bandh, the KSSGA also plans to hold a rally in Bangalore on September 7 and also stage a dharna in front of the Chief Minister’s residence. While no political parties were allowed to attend their protest, Shanthakumar said, Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) has extended its support to the protest.

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