BENGALURU: Signalling that farmers' plight would be the focus area of Karnataka's new Congress-JDS regime, state Governor Vajubhai Vala today said the days of anxiety for peasants "are at the end" as the government desires to become the "voice of the voiceless" farmers.
"My government will take humanitarian measures to alleviate the distress of the farming community," he told a joint sitting of the two Houses of the state legislature as he unfolded the priorities of the new government which assumed office on May 25.
This is the third session of the fifteenth assembly after the May 12 polls, which yielded a hung house with the BJP emerging as the single largest party, but failing to form the government due to lack of majority.
In the first session on May 19, the three-day-old B S Yeddyurappa-led BJP government had resigned even before undergoing the floor test with numbers stacked up against it, while the second one on May 25 saw Kumaraswamy winning the vote of confidence.
Vala said the government was keen on pioneering pilot projects and models to ensure fair returns to Karnataka cultivators.
"The days of anxiety are at the end. My government desires to become the voice of the voiceless farmers," he said.
He also appealed to the farming community not to resort to suicides for any reason whatsoever.
The Governor's pro-farmer speech assumes significance as the Kumaraswamy-led government is expected to announce crop loan waiver in its July 5 budget to relieve farmers of their distress due to drought for successive years.
Vala said the government would forge new paths with a new vision to safeguard the interests of all citizens, while also continuing effective programmes taken up earlier.
Stating that farmers are the backbone of Karnataka, he said the government has always been thinking of ways to protect cultivators and to help them adopt modern agricultural technology.
He said agriculture should move from dependence on the monsoon to the available water resources instead.
Pointing out that the cultivators have become victim to a vicious cycle of crop loss by flood or drought and poor market returns even in normal season for agricultural produce, Vala said the government would formulate new schemes to mitigate the cultivators' problems and improve their living conditions.
The government wants peasants to adopt Israeli model of farming, he said, adding that the officials would visit farming fields to advise peasants on cultivation based on seasonal conditions and water availability.
Vala said the government planned to create additional irrigation potential in the state, for which micro irrigation system would be augmented and 'tank-filling schemes' would be extended throughout the state.
On pollution, Vala said the manufacture, supply, sale and use of plastic bags and other plastic items have been prohibited and would be enforced throughout the state.
Noting that Karnataka has taken steps to implement a revised action plan aimed at declaring the state as a 'Child and Adolescent Labour Free State' by 2020, he said the government also proposed to extend accident relief and provident fund benefits to certain categories of unorganised workers.
On full roll out of previous Congress government-launched "Arogya Karnataka" (universal health coverage) scheme in 2018, the Governor said it was proposed to bring all districts, major and taluka hospitals under the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Health Care or National Quality Assurance Survey Certification.
The government proposed to strengthen the tertiary health care services by establishing super speciality hospitals in the premises of existing institutes in major cities.
On civic problems plaguing Bengaluru, the Governor said the government was aware of the infrastructural gaps in the city and it was necessary to effectively implement schemes to control traffic and providing drinking water and housing.
"My government will strive towards the integrated development of Bengaluru," he said.
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation would complete 118 km of track length by March 2021, Vala said.
At present, an average of 3.
6 lakh commuters travel per day in Bangalore Metro and this is expected to rise to about 20 lakh.
"My government plans to implement the Intelligent Transport System in the core parts of Bengaluru city.
Free wi-fi facility, closed circuit camera, panic alarm and SOS button in mobile app for women's safety will be provided in buses," he added.