Bengaluru, Apr 11: In a scathing attack on the state government, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda on Friday termed the lockdown as a "haste" decision and said that this step would affect largely farmers and the working class.”
In a letter written to the state government which was released to press on Friday he said the state government should have consulted all sections of the society including experienced citizens, officials, farmers, industrialists and wholesale traders about the pros and cons before lockdown, he said.
Mr Gowda, further said that 61 per cent of the state’s population depended on agriculture, just because the decision was taken without any preparations”, farmers of the country and the state are facing financial distress,” he said.
The JD(S) supreme suggested taking up some measures, including ensuring no restrictions on agriculture activities, procurement of horticulture produce at a fair price, relaxing export curbs on it, to provide relief to farmers, agriculture labourers, and daily wage workers.
Earlier Gowda had said he has assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi of his support in the nation’s battle against COVID-19 pandemic when the latter called him to discuss the situation.
In his letter to the chief minister, Gowda said: “…the lockdown implemented to control the spread of coronavirus has led our farmers into despair and put their lives into a burning fire.
Among the suggestions made by the former prime minister include, procurement of horticulture produce at a fair price like in the case of milk from villages by the government through related organisations like Karnataka Horticulture Federation, HOPCOMS among others.
As horticulture produce was perishable, there should be no restriction on its procurement, transportation and marketing; all processing related activities of horticulture produce should be given relaxation from the lockdown, he said.
Gowda also called for relaxation on exports for horticulture produce and its processed items. There should be no restriction on agriculture activities; a national grid has to be set up for marketing of horticulture produce, otherwise, the government will have to pay compensation to farmers for losses.
Stating that there was lack of remedial measures would lead to a shortage of supply, leading to people’s wrath besides farmers’ suicides and bringing about a situation that might be more grave than coronavirus, he pointed out. (UNI)