Kumaraswamy promises committee to end farmer suicides


Bangalore : Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has promised to set up a committee to decide on steps to be taken to prevent farmers from committing suicide due to debt burdens and crop failure.

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Kumaraswamy said the committee would be formed in the next 10 days and it would have political leaders and farmers as its members. He said he also had plans to raise resources to meet farmers' demands.

He was speaking at a seven-hour meet on 'Farmers Problems – A Dialogue with the Government' held here Thursday. He added that he might even consider a one-time waiver of all loans taken by farmers till now.

A fortnight back, Kumaraswamy had declared that he would quit as chief minister if one more farmer took his own life.

As the suicides didn't stop, H.D. Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy's father and former chief minister, publicly told him to face the issue instead of quitting his post.

Some suggestions put forth by farmers included loans in April-May before the sowing season started, a consolidated passbook detailing the farmer's assets that would serve as proof to obtain loans, electric supply in the morning to operate pumps instead of during night time as at present.

They also wanted individual farmers to be considered as a unit for crop insurance instead of several villages, education for farmers on the kind of crops they should grow and fixing a minimum price before the sowing season.

A common plea was that there should be an agency that lends money to farmers for medical and educational purposes as well at reasonable interest rates.