Rahul Gandhi on padayatra, meets and comforts distressed farmers

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Haveri (Karnataka), Oct 10: Undertaking a padayatra and interacting with farmers, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today counselled the peasants not to commit suicide as it was no solution to their problems.

On the second day of his tour of Karnataka to comfort the distressed families of farmers who had committed suicide, Rahul started about a seven-km long padayatra from Maidur village in Haveri district of north Karnataka.

Rahul Gandhi on padayatra in K'taka

At the first stop of his padayatra, the Congress MP had interactions with students at Maidur higher primary school. Asked how he would solve the farmers' problems if he became the Prime Minister, Rahul said the country should be run by the citizens and they should be empowered to solve their problems. During his interaction with farmers, he urged them not to commit suicide because it is not the solution.

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He met the farmers at Kandebagur helipad in Rannebennur, where they raised concern over Kalasa-Banduri row between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The farmers urged Rahul to exhort pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and request President Pranab Mukherjee to intervene to resolve the matter.

About 50 farmers from Nargund and Navalgund and Hubli-Dharwad were present. The Kalasa-Banduri Nala (diversion) project, to utilise 7.56 tmcft of water from the inter-state Mahadayi river, is being undertaken by Karnataka to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and the districts of Belagavi and Gadag, over which Goa has reservations.

Protests are on by several organisations and farmers across districts of North Karnataka demanding implementation of Kalasa-Banduri project.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, also in charge of party affairs in Karnataka, and KPCC President G Parameshwara are accompanying Rahul during his outreach to farmers. Rahul had visited Mandya district yesterday.

The visit of Rahul to Mandya and Haveri districts comes against the backdrop of a sudden rise in farmers suicides in the last six months in Karnataka with 541 peasants taking away their lives.

Mandya and Haveri districts were the most affected by distress driven suicides.

PTI

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