Opposition backs farmers’ bandh call, but stir impact may be minimal in Karnataka | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU/ MYSURU/ DHARWAD: A large number of farmers across the country will answer the Bharat bandh call on Monday to protest against the Centre’s new farm laws. The impact of the demonstrations in Karnataka, however, is expected to be minimal despite the backing of Congress and JD(S).
With the economy in recovery mode after the pandemic-driven disruptions, businesses, including restaurants and hotels, have indicated they will operate as usual, while educational institutions have said they cannot afford to lose more time. SSLC supplementary examinations, in fact, are scheduled on Monday.
Transport minister B Sriramulu said that the government would not suspend bus services. “The government will neither support the bandh call nor stop public transportation. We will ensure that there is security for all passengers and buses continue to ply as usual,” he added.
Various transport workers’ unions, including BMTC, autos and cabs, have offered words of support for the farmers’ agitation, but stressed that they would not halt services.
Home minister Araga Jnanendra said that the police department had been directed to ensure adequate security across the state. “Authorities are keeping a close watch on all sensitive locations, including Bengaluru city and the outskirts,” he said.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has called a 10-hour bandh on Monday to mark one year of the three farm laws that were passed in Parliament. Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar said: “Congress supports the demands of farmers and the peaceful bandh they have called.”
Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of JD(S) announced the same, adding that he hoped the stir would be peaceful. “JD(S) will back the farmers’ cause and support the bandh. We will raise our voices in every forum for the people,” he said.
Farmers’ groups are expected to organise dharnas and rallies, which could cause traffic chaos. But they may not receive a lot of public support on the ground.
In Belagavi, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai requested farmers to not participate in the Bharat bandh and allow economic activities to continue. “When the state is just coming out of the lockdown and the economy is picking up pace, calling a shutdown will be detrimental to the interests of people. It will hurt the common man and even farmers. I urge them to withdraw the protest call,” he said.
D Shashi Kumar, the secretary of the Association of Primary and Secondary Schools of Karnataka, said that they would morally support farmers’ issues, but remain open. “We have just reopened. We can’t afford to shut schools anymore,” he added.
Commissioner for public instruction R Vishal said that no decision had been taken yet with regard to schools and that it would depend on the availability of transport services. Bandh organisers have said they won’t stop public transport as SSLC supplementary examinations are scheduled to begin on Monday.
“The government should have postponed the exams keeping in mind the protest. However, we have decided not to disturb candidates who are appearing for the papers. Buses and vehicles used by these candidates will not be stopped,” said Badagalapura Nagendra, the president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha.
The hoteliers’ association said that while establishments were sympathetic to farmers’ issues, they can’t suspend operations. “It has been decided that all hotels will remain open. Closing hotels for a day when the sector is recovering from the pandemiclinked losses will not be appropriate for hoteliers or farmers. Over 50 per cent of what farmers produce is used at hotels. If we stay closed for an entire day, farmers will also suffer losses,” said PC Rao, the president of the Bengaluru hoteliers’ association.

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Sagar Biswas

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