MYSURU: Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday assured farmer leaders that he would look into the demand for exempting fertilisers, pesticides, drip irrigation material and agro products from the GST net. Bommai said he would write to the Centre and press for GST exemption in the interest of the farming community.
He was interacting with farmer leaders after receiving a memorandum from prominent farmer organisations at the round table meet. The farmers said the Union government, that gives subsidy on one hand, is squeezing them by imposing GST on agro products and fertilisers.
When the farmers briefed him on life insurance cover for 36 lakh farmers in Telangana, who pay Rs 2,600 premium per annum that fetches Rs 5 lakh monetary benefit in case of untimely death, Bommai said he would seek a report on the Telangana project, and look into their plea.
Karnataka Sugarcane Growers’ Association president Kurbur Shanthakumar said the delegation had pressed for MSP of all agriculture produce, and told him that farmers had been let down as their produce was not purchased at the MSP announced. The government, that had announced it would open ragi procurement centres, and assured it would buy 100 kilos for Rs 3,200 from each farmer, has purchased less than 10 per cent of the ragi produce. This has compelled farmers to sell ragi at throwaway prices to traders and commission agents in villages and nearby towns, Shanthakumar said.
The round table conference, that discussed problems of cane growers and factories denying Fair Remunerative Price to farmers, urged the Chief Minister to prevail on factories to ensure justice.
Shanthakumar said the cost of cultivation has shot up with fertilisers like potash, that was available at Rs 900 a bag and is now sold at Rs 1,950 per bag. The crash in prices of horticulture crops has added to the agony of the farming community, which is yet to recover from the huge losses suffered during the Covid lockdown.