Hundreds of farmers under the banner of the Janapra Raitha Horata Samiti held a demonstration demanding minimum support price of ₹2,500 a qunital for paddy at Brahmavar in Udupi taluk on Saturday.
Occupying NH66 for some time, the farmers thrashed paddy plants to separate grains on the spot to vent out their anger over the ₹1,700 MSP announced by the State Government. Farmers said while Kerala had announced ₹2,740 MSP, the Karnataka Government should procure paddy at ₹2,500 a qunital at least, considering the increased costs of cultivation.
Added to increased cultivation costs, untimely rains have considerably damaged standing crops and farmers had to incur extra expenditure to harvest the crops.
Many of them have already transported paddy to mills nearby. Either the government should ask millers to pay the increased MSP or open procurement centres at the village level, farmers demanded and set one week deadline to announce increased MSP. Millers should give priority to locally grown paddy in procurement to paddy grown outside the district, they added.
Speaking on the occasion, president of the samiti, Kota, Jayaram Shetty said farmers had been demanding enhanced MSP for paddy since two years now. Farmers had again petitioned the Government to offer increased MSP this month and since it has failed to do so, they have resorted to the protest, he said.
Cultivation cost has increased to ₹32,000 an acre and the ₹1,600 a quinital they get at mills was woefully inadequate. APMC rules should be relaxed and middlemen should be prevented from interfering in procurement.
Hangarakatta Balkudru mutt seer Nrusimhashrama Swami urged farmers to get united to prevent middlemen from exploiting them. He said farmers were not selfish; but work for the masses.
Brahmavar Sugar Factory Administrative Committee president Baikady Suprasad Shetty, farmer leaders Jayaram Shetty Manuru, Bhoja Poojary Kota, and others were present.
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