BENGALURU: On the day farmers in Karnataka called for a statewide bandh, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said they are being fed misinformation and added that he would undertake a statewide tour to meet them personally and create awareness on the amendments to the farm and land bills.
"The Congress and a few farmer leaders have conspired and are holding protests against farm bills. I am a farmer's son and have come to power with the support of farmers. These laws were brought into effect after much thought to help farmers and give them independence and freedom to sell their crop at a price that they fix. They can sell it to APMCs too. It's their choice," BS Yediyurappa said in his first response to the agitating farmers. He appealed to farmer union leaders to discuss their concerns with him after they finish their agitation.
"I appeal to my farmers, who are being given wrong information, to wait for six months and watch how things are going to be favourable due to the reforms. Under land reforms too, nobody will be allowed to sell land belonging to SC/ST farmers, land of small and marginal farmers will be protected," he said adding that the reforms will allow some 18 to 20 lakh acre drylands in the state to be used for industrial purposes that will generate employment.
"With these reforms, anyone can take up agriculture. Irrigated lands will be used only for farming. Drylands can be used for setting up industries. I urge farmer unions leaders not to mislead farmers," BS Yediyurappa said.
Listing out the various pro-farmer measures taken by his government as well as Narendra Modi led Union government, Yediyurappa said the Congress was deliberately misleading people against the reforms that their leaders have been pushing for decades.
"APMCs are riddled with middlemen that cheat farmers. I speak from my own experience as a farmer who sold his produce at APMCs," the Chief Minister said adding that his talks with the farmer unions leaders on Friday failed because they had already decided to protest without considering discussions.
"85 out of 100 farmers will realise the reforms' benefits. I will tour the state and explain it to them personally," Yediyurappa said adding that his government had reduced APMC cess from 1.5% to 0.5%.