Karnataka bandh today over farm bills; Measures taken to ensure normalcy, says govt
Bengaluru, Sep 28: A state-wide bandh would be observed in Karnataka on Monday by various farmers' organisations, protesting 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.
It 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.
It has defended the bills, saying the measures had been brought with an intention to give freedom to the farmers for selling their produce in any part of the state or country.
Police said they have made elaborate security measures to see to that no untoward incident occurred. 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 incharge 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.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Sunday asserted his government was pro-farmers and sought to brush aside the bandh, saying there was no ''scope'' for the agitation.
Assuring 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.
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