But farmers’ leaders believe that the members have not been of much help. “Members come and go, but our problems remain,” said Vishwanath Patil Koutha, a Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha leader. “The APMCs were set up to ensure remunerative prices for farmers and end their exploitation by middlemen. But none of them [committees] have succeeded in this.”He said that first of all, the members don’t come to the market in time to stop the fall in prices in times of glut. The delay helps traders form a coterie and hoodwink farmers. For example, red gram prices have been falling since October, but the local APMCs did not start procurement till the last week of December, he said.
Bidar, which used to be the fourth largest sugarcane-growing district in the State, is all set to lose the tag, as the district’s farmers, hit by the long dry spell and unstable prices offered by sugar factories, seem to have reduced cane cultivation.Officials say this year’s harvest is just around 10 lakh tonnes, down from the average of 25 lakh tonnes over the past decade. This has hit sugar factories and the backyard jaggery-making units. Bidar has five sugar factories — three in the cooperative sector and two private units. Sugarcane is also bought by around 10 Khand Saris or mini factories that make diamond sugar and molasses.
H.K Patil, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister, expressed displeasure with the slow pace of calamity relief and other works in the Bidar Zilla Panchayat. At a meeting of officials here on Thursday, the Minister said that serious action will be taken against officials who failed to perform.
A farmer collapsed due to exertion during a protest dharna in front of the DC office on Thursday.Ramrao Malegaon, 65, of Joldabka village collapsed inside the DC compound after standing for an hour during the protest. He was carried to the hospital by police and some farmers. He is recovering, Mallikarjun Swamy, district Karnataka rajya raitha sangha president told The Hindu. He was suffering from cold and fever, Mr. Swamy said.
Vishwanath Patil Koutha, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha leader, said, “Over 60 farmers have committed suicide owing to crop loss in the last three years. If the government cannot figure out a way to distribute relief immediately, more farmers will die.”He added that farmers in various villages of Bhalki have been waiting for crop loss relief for months after reading statements from district in-charge Minister Eshwar Khandre and Deputy Commissioner Anurag Tewari that over Rs. 230 crore has been distributed to farmers as compensation in one year. “And then we come to know that the money released by the State government has not reached the farmers,” he said.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha will organise dharnas in front of the residences of all MLAs in Bidar district on November 2, seeking a special package for flood-affected farmers.
The Bidar Sahakari Sakkare Karakhane, the oldest sugar producing cooperative in the district, may not crush sugarcane this year. Bad debts and ineffective management have driven the factory to this stage, allege farmers.The other reasons they attribute include fall in total output of sugarcane, the resultant high prices, lack of funds to clean and maintain machinery, settle dues of farmers and pay labourers.The factory in Hallikhed-Bujurg village, 30 km from the district headquarters, was started in 1961-62, by collecting share capital from farmers. Successive governments have provided working capital assistance before every crushing season. But the demand for converting these government funds into state equity has not been met by the state government.
“Scientific foodgrain storage is not mere dumping of gunny bags inside a big building. It is a multi-phased process that involves cleaning, drying, grading, disinfection and storage. The government’s responsibility does not end at financing the buildings. It should acquaint farmers with storage techniques by telling them how they will benefit from it and how to go about it,” Mr. Patil said. He said that the government should train farmers about different storing techniques regularly. Deputy Commissioner Anurag Tewari said the existing storage facilities will be used. “We are embarking on an ambitious project of building 186 rural godowns—one in each panchayat. Work on 20 godowns is complete … work on 100 more are in various stages of execution … We will start work on the remaining godowns in a month. We will then connect the old and new storehouses to the national agriculture market through the E-RMS system introduced by the State Agriculture Marketing Department. We will also train farmers about storing techniques and how to sell their produce online,” the DC said.
Farmers said that poor quality work could have resulted in tanks breaching. None of the old tanks, built 50-60 years ago, have breached. Only the new tanks have breached. That shows they were of poor quality, Srimant Biradar, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha leader, said. He said that the Shembelli tank that was built 10 years ago had breached while the older tanks such as those in Hakyal and Kamal Nagar have not, he said.
Heavy rains wreaked havoc in Bidar and Kalaburagi districts, inundating several roads and bridges and throwing life out of gear.In Bidar district, vehicular movement on Bidar- Bhalki Road was stopped by Friday morning as the stream near Kardyal villge began flowing over the road, as did Ane Halla stream at Dharajwadi in Bhalki taluk. Bridges in Dadagi, Kalawadi and Inchur were submerged. The old bridges in Sangam and Saigaon were submerged. The Thana Kushnoor- Nidoda Road and Bhalki – Humnabad Roadwas cut off as water was flowing over it.Water release from Dhanegaon dam in Maharashtra continued to flood the Kongli barrage. Crops in villages around Kongli, Hulsoor and other villages suffered crop loss. Heavy rain in the catchment areas of Manjra and Karanja rivers also added to the woes of farmers, who are yet to harvest standing crops of black gram, soya and red gram. Farmer leaders complained that heavy rain had damaged crops in Nideban, Kunte Sirsi and Jol Dabka.