Karnataka Bandh: Farmers to protest against state farm bills today
Farmers’ organisations in Karnataka called for a state-wide bandh on Monday in protest against the amendments to the agricultural produce market committee (APMC) and land reforms acts introduced by the B S Yediyurappa government.
Several labour organisations, pro-Kannada outfits and the Congress and the JD(S), who had opposed the bills in the assembly, extended support to the call for the bandh.
In Bengaluru, a protest march has been planned from Town Hall to Mysore Bank Circle against the “anti farmer” legislations, farmers organisations told news agency PTI.
Services of goods transporters, taxi, auto rickshaw drivers and private bus drivers are likely to be unavailable as they have expressed solidarity with the protests, they said.
However, state-owned public transport, bus and metro services will operate normally.
Defending the bills, the government warned of stern action against any forcible enforcement of the bandh. All necessary steps will be taken to ensure that there is no disruption to the normal functioning of its offices, hospitals, shops and establishments and maintaining services of taxis and buses, it said.
Police have said that elaborate measures have been put in place to ensure no untoward incident occurred.
“We have not given permission for any protests to anyone and senior officials have been deployed to supervise things. We will not allow anyone to forcefully shut down or halt activities,” City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said, warning of strict action as per law if there was any violation.
Meanwhile, Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa on Sunday asserted his government was pro-farmers and sought to brush aside the bandh, saying there was no ‘scope’ for the agitation and people could carry on with their day-to- day activities normally.
“I had called leaders of farmers organisations and discussed with them the stand of our government and the desire of the Prime Minister (which) is pro-farmer,” Yediyurappa told reporters.
The Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) (Amendment) Bill and the Karnataka Land Reforms (Second Amendment) Bill were passed in the Legislative Assembly on Saturday despite stiff opposition.
The amendments to land reform act liberalises farmland ownership and the APMC amendment bill curtails the powers of local Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC). It allows private individuals to start agricultural trading, if they hold a permanent account number (PAN).
(with PTI inputs)