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Karnataka Bandh: Farmer Outfits Call for Shutdown Today; Normal Life, Business to be Hit

File photo of farmers protesting against farm bills.

File photo of farmers protesting against farm bills.

However, Karnataka government has assured that the people can carry on with their day-to-day activities normally without any fear.

Several farmer outfits and organisations have called for Karnataka bandh on Monday, which will affect the normal life of people in Bengaluru and other places as protestors have planned to take out rallies and demonstrations on streets to oppose the amendments to the APMC and land reforms acts made by the B S Yediyurappa government. The dawn-to-dusk bandh call has been supported by several pro-Kannada and other outfits besides the opposition Congress and the JD(S), who had opposed the amendment bills in the assembly.

However, Karnataka government has assured that the people can carry on with their day-to-day activities normally without any fear. Revenue Minister R Ashoka warned against any move to forcefully enforce the bandh or indulge in incidents like stone pelting.

Making an effort to quell the protestors, Yediyurappa asserted that his government was pro-farmers, adding that there was no 'scope' for the agitation. "I had called leaders of farmers organisations and discussed with them the stand of our government and the desire of the Prime Minister (which) is pro-farmer," Yediyurappa told reporters today.

The bandh is also backed by several labour organisations who are protesting against amendments to certain labour laws during the brief assembly session that concluded on Saturday.

Warning of stern action against any forcible enforcement of the bandh, the state government has said it would take all necessary steps to ensure that there was no disruption to the normal functioning of its offices, hospitals, shops and establishments and maintaining services of taxis and buses.

According to the farmers' organisations, they will hold protests across the state during the bandh. In Bengaluru, a protest march has been planned from Town Hall to Mysore Bank Circle against the "anti farmer" legislations, they said.

With some goods transporters, taxi and auto rickshaw drivers announcing their support to the bandh, their services are likely to be hit. Also, private bus services also may be affected. However, state owned public transport bus and metro services are likely to operate normally.

Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who is also the in-charge of transport department, has clarified that, services of all the four state road transport corporations and even the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation will be available, and the Police Department has been requested to provide additional security. However, some protesting organisations including, pro-Kannada outfits, have said that they will try to stop bus services and will also organise a "rail roko".

Hotels and restaurants are likely to function with most of them not deciding to shut citing business not yet gaining momentum after lockdown. Schools and colleges are yet open due to COVID situation.

While some shops and establishments are not likely to operate depending on the situation; government offices, banks, post offices will remain open, along with all essential services and supplies. City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said "we have not given permission for any protests to anyone and senior officials have been deployed to supervise things. We will not allow anyone to forcefully shut down or halt activities," he said warning of strict action as per law if there was any violation.

Action would also be taken under the Disaster Management Act due to COVID-19 pandemic, he said adding that civil police will be also deployed besides regular personnel. Despite the stiff opposition from the opposition parties, especially Congress, the Yediyurappa administration was successful in getting the Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development) (Amendment) Bill and the Karnataka Land Reforms (Second Amendment) Bill passed in the Legislative Assembly on Saturday.

While the amendments to land reform act liberalises farmland ownership, the APMC amendment bill curtails the powers of local Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees(APMC) and allows private individuals to start agricultural trading, if they hold a permanent account number (PAN).

(with inputs from PTI)


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