Rs 2 Lakh Loan Waiver Not Enough, Says Protesting Karnataka Farmers

Source: NDTV | By Sajjad Qazi | Published on 10th July 2018, 6:51 PM | State News |


Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's waiver for crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh has not pleased the farmers, who are demanding a complete waiver of all loans. Today, hundreds of farmers descended upon state capital Bengaluru to press for their demands. The loan waiver for distressed farmers was one of the key focus areas for the Chief Minister. In the run-up to the elections, his party had promised to effect a complete loan waiver within 24hours of coming to power.

"Kumaraswamy said he would waive loans worth 1,26,000 crores - the complete loans. That hasn't happened. He said it is because he is in a coalition government, but he wouldn't go back on his promise of completely waiving all the loans," said  Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, the chief of KRRS, a farmers' body.

In the state budget announced last week, Mr Kumaraswamy said farmers' organisations have agreed that loans of big amounts like Rs 40 lakh and more, could not be waived. The government had decided to opt for a partial waiver, which would cost the state Rs 34,000 crores in public funds. The Chief Minister had also waived arrears for defaulters so they get fresh loans. Incentives of up to Rs 25,000 were also announced for farmers who repaid loans in time.

But the farmers are livid. "When we come to meet him at Vidhana Soudha, Kumaraswamy leaves by another gate. What does that mean? You have asked us to come as a guest and then leave by the back door," said Mr Chandrasekhar.

During the protest today, the farmers, who gathered at Maurya Circle and Seshadri road in central Bengaluru, tried to march towards the assembly house. But they were stopped by the police and many farmers were detained.

The farmers warned that will hit the streets across the state.

"In Haveri we will have a rally and talk of all the problems. They seem to think only the people of Bengaluru are citizens. We are not citizens. We are telling him that we are there too," Mr Chandrasekhar added.
"It is some misunderstanding, that is all," said Bandappa Kashampur, Minister of Cooperation. The Rs 34,000 loan waiver is not small, he said, calling it  "history in India's farming community".  So far, the state has waived loans of upto 8000 crores. That too was done by a JD(S) government, he said.

"There should be guidelines. For that, they (the farmers) have given some suggestions and within a day or two, the Chief Minister will call them and discuss the matter. This government is for farmers and we will see farmers community will progress in this state," he added.

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