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Sugarcane farmer commits suicide outside Assembly

Vittal Arabhavi, from Kankanvadi village in Raibag taluka commited suicide in a protest against the “inadequate” minimum support price fixed by state-run Sugarcane Control Board for the crop

sugarcaneBelgaum: A sugarcane farmer today allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide outside the legislature building here during a protest against the “inadequate” minimum support price fixed by state-run Sugarcane Control Board for the crop.

As the winter legislature session is underway here, the farmer alongwith hundreds of others was taking part in an agitation going on for the last three days demanding higher price for sugarcane.

“The farmer was rushed to the hospital. Yes, he was brought dead to the hospital,” officials of KLE Hospital, where he was taken after he took the extreme step, said.

The 60-year-old farmer has been identified as Vittal Arabhavi, hailing from Kankanvadi village in Raibag taluka, police said, adding, he was rushed immediately after he consumed pesticide, but was declared brought dead by doctors.

Sugarcane growers, who have rejected the price of Rs 2,500 a tonne fixed by the government, are continuing their stir demanding that it be raised to Rs 3,500 per tonne.

The government had recently constituted a 15-member sugarcane control board after the Karnataka Sugarcane (purchase and supply control) Act 2013 was amended in the monsoon session of the state legislature.

Besides government officials, representatives of sugarcane farmers and mills are members of the board. As the third largest producer in the country after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, Karnataka crushes 33 million tonnes of cane in 58 mills to produce 3.4 million tonnes of sugar annually.

Opposition leaders H D Kumaraswamy (JDS) and former Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda slammed the government over the incident, saying had it responded promptly and swiftly to the farmers’ demand, it could have been avoided. Farmers’ leader and MLA Puttannayya said the government was fully responsible for the death of the farmer, as it was “stretching the issue” for no reason.


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