Phone-in event organised by Vijay Karnataka had Chief minister siddaramaiah answering queries from 22 farmers -
August 05, 2015 Worried over the rising incidents of farmers' suicides and staring at an imminent drought across the state, chief minister Siddaramaiah appealed to the agrarian community of the state not to take the extreme step of ending their lives and assured that the government would do everything possible to help address their woes. Taking part in the phone-in programme on Tuesday, organised by the Vijay Karnataka, a sister-concern of Bangalore Mirror, CM Siddaramaiah interacted directly with the farmers from different parts of the state.
Listening to the plight of farmers for more than an hour, Siddaramaiah patiently replied to all queries of the farmers and assured them that he would resolve their issues by directing the officials concerned immediately. Ranging from requests to waive off interest on farm loans borrowed from banks to changing climatic conditions affecting the rainfall pattern, farmers brought forth several issues to the notice of the chief minister. Reflecting poorly on the elected representatives and bureaucrats at district headquarters, some even complained about their MLAs, DCs and other lower-rung officers for failing to address their problems.
Though there were as many as 400 to 500 calls from different districts since morning, Siddaramaiah could take only 22 calls between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm, spending on an average of 3 to 5 minutes per call. All through the interaction, the CM had his officials noting down the problems and for some, he personally ordered the respective deputy commissioners to act swiftly and submit him an action-taken report soon. BM brings you some of the relevant questions posed by the farmers:
Hanumanthappa Kadli, from Koppal
Sir, my 16-acre irrigated plot is fully covered with carbon spewed by the adjoining sponge-iron unit and nothing grows in the field. Neither the MLA nor the DC are helping me despite my complaint filed a year ago.
(Noting the company name personally) This is indeed a serious problem. You need not worry, I will immediately speak to DC and ensure that the emission stops.
(hello... Is Koppal DC online? Has it come to your notice that a sponge-iron unit is spoiling the agricultural fields? Is it true that crops have been severely damaged? Why can't you stop pollution? Take action against the company and if exceeding the norms, close down the plant)
Yajaman Sannaiah, Hunsur, Mysuru
How can I explain my condition? I have been boycotted from my village for no reason and am not even allowed to go anywhere nearby. Can you please help me?
How can this happen? Don't worry; the issue will be addressed immediately. I shall speak to all the officials concerned and ask them to go to your village immediately and ensure there is no more boycott.
Appaji, I own 50 sheep, out of which many are ailing and no medicine is working out. Added to this, there is literally no grazing space around my village.
Don't you have government land like revenue, forest land with green pasture around your village? Please go and meet the deputy director of the Animal Husbandry Department and I will also tell them about your problem.
Sir, the government announced seven hours of uninterrupted power. But there have been frequent power cuts and as a result, we are unable to irrigate land. I request you to provide at least 14 to 16 hours of electricity supply.
Hanumanthappa, from where will I be able to give you that much power? Due to shortage of rainfall, many of the reservoirs have not filled to their capacity. But I will direct officials to provide seven hours of uninterrupted power.
Siddu Satihala, Vijayapura
Your budget promised us to avail interest free loan up to Rs 3 lakh. However, in reality, only landlords and financiers are availing this interest-free loan and instead lending it to us with a hefty interest. Can you please look into it?
I will direct the registrar (cooperative societies) to ensure interest-free loan to all the small and marginal farmers. Even you can avail this.
The farming community is in a debt pool. Why don't you just waive off the interest at one go as done in other states and all of us will elect you for another term.
Let me tell you that only 20 percent of farmers avail loans from cooperative societies, while the rest 80 per cent go for other means. Hence, waiving of interest will not help everyone. However, all I can promise is we will seriously look into the issue.
Ganesh, HD Kote
The cotton crop in the entire taluk is being wiped out due to shortage of rain. Worse, if it doesn't rain in a month, even the livestock have nothing to eat. Because of the existing debt, we can't even borrow elsewhere.
It is indeed a very serious issue. The entire state is reeling under scanty rainfall. We are gearing up with contingency measures. Meanwhile, I shall speak to the banks so that adequate loan is provided to farmers like you.
FAILING MONSOON A BIG WORRY FOR STATE
The chief minister revealed that he was shocked to see that only in July suicide cases shot up considerably touching 187. (April-7, May-12, June-20)
Programmes like cloud-seeding are also being considered due to the failure of monsoon. If it does not rain within a week, then there will be a severe drought across the state. Siddaramaiah said 1,080 cases were booked against money-lenders and 560 people who have been arrested for harassing farmers to repay the loans.
The chief minister claimed the previous BJP government announced a waiver of farm loans of up to Rs 3,500 crore. But contrary to their claim, they had only paid Rs 900 crore and his government cleared the remaining dues after assuming the office.