Chottnahalli in Karnataka reflects contrasting impact of Modi policies

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A small village, Chottnahalli- to which politicians less rallied, except in the time of elections, critically reflects contrasting impact of Modi policies as it unleashes on the ground. "Mushrooming toilets in the village is a result of Swacch Bharath Abhiyan," says a villager.

A remote village in Srirangapatna taluk at Mandya district consisting only of the Vokkaliga community is solely dependent on sericulture though lives of few rely on the gradually vanishing cane farming. As many as 90% (among farmers) of the villagers earn their daily bread rearing silkworm, while only 10% survive on cane crop.

Lavatory

The hopes of the villagers on the Modi government is soaring with dwellers witnessing erection of toilets in front of old houses. The government through the scheme has come to the aid of poor and provide Rs 12,000 to build toilets in houses that does have one. However, the village that has 115 houses, in the tenure of UPA (United Progressive Alliance) had 10 lavatories as against 50 and counting in Modi's tenure as the PM.

"Many in the village started using toilets, though few still go to the fields," said Kumar. Besides building of toilets, change in the mindset is necessary. The materialization of Modi's much-loved policy has brought smiles on faces of many, added Kumar whose village in Kodiyala Gram Panchayat elected a JD(S) backed member in the recent elections.

Many politicians including the JD(S) MLA Ramesh Babu of Srirangapatna paid less attention to the village except during elections by rolling out freebies to lure electorates.

The aspirations of the villagers on Modi policies appears high as Kumar and his friends showcase enthusiasm to engage in discussion with this scribe. The mood says it all. The residents hope that the visitor would sail their troubled condition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The UPA trade policy looked good when it came to sericulture," says 45-year-old Siddappa (name changed) while peeling the worn out skin of his hard working leg. The village having 115 houses and 800 to 900 people in its fold has been hit after customs duty on silk importing from China was cut.

Silkworms

It could be observed that Karnataka is one of the largest producers of silk in the country, contributing more than 60% of India's total raw silk production. Out of this, about 30% are directed towards exports. The country has entire leaf-to-cloth program in its womb itself.

China has swamped into the sericulture industry of this less know village. "The prices of cocoon has slumped drastically from Rs 350-400 to Rs 105-240." laments Siddappa. The erstwhile Prime Minister Manmohan Singh showed concern towards livelihood of villagers, while current PM seems neglecting the condition, he rued.

The labour charge, rent charge on bamboo thatch (traditionally termed as Chandrike) has shot up making cocoon growers life difficult to sustain the business, narrates Siddappa.s

The Finance Minister few months ago reduced customs duty on the import of raw silk from 15% to 10%. "The village is yet to witness farmers suicides, but had the duty not increased it is likely to occur in our village too," says Kumar vesting his hope on Modi.

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