Bengaluru: Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Monday expressed his willingness to talk to farmer leaders, as ryots staged demonstrations in several parts of the state during the Karnataka Bandh on Monday against two bills.

The Chief Minister's reaction came as pro-farmer organizations backed by a number of other social and political outfits including the Congress today called for a state-wide Bandh against the amendments to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act (APMC) Act and Karnataka Land Reforms (KLR) Act passed by the State Assembly.

The farmers alleged that the amendment to the APMC Act will deprive them of the minimum support price and enable multinational companies and big corporate houses to directly procure produce at their rates.

"I want to tell the farmer leaders that conduct the agitation today but later come, sit with us, and have a discussion. I am always ready to make changes for the benefit of farmers," the Chief Minister told a press conference.

Describing the two amendments as anti-farmer, the protesters alleged that these laws will ruin the agriculture sector as people with moneybags will purchase agricultural land to convert their black money into white and turn agriculture land into real estate business.

Dismissing the allegation, the Chief Minister said the amendment to the APMC Act will enable farmers to sell their produce wherever they wish.

They can sell either in the APMC or sell it directly to anyone in any part of the state and the country, he explained.

"There was a time when cases were registered against farmers for selling their produce from one district to another district. We are removing these restrictions on farmers to sell their produce anywhere," the Chief Minister said.

He, however, clarified that the government was not shutting down APMCs.

"... We are only giving you complete independence so that you can sell at the APMC or sell it where they get a good price.This is a historic decision.

I appeal to our farmers' associations that whoever is misleading you, just wait for six months or a year. All the hassles in selling your products will go," he added.

Regarding the amendment to the KLR Act, the Chief Minister said there were about 18 lakh-20 lakh acres of barren land and after this amendment, anyone can do farming.

To a question about AICC in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala allegedly terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yediyurappa harmful to the country and Karnataka, the chief minister said, "Let Surjewala build his own party. Then let him speak about the BJP and other political parties."

He said the Congress was on the decline and as a result, the BJP will rule for the next ten years.

He claimed the BJP will get an absolute majority in the next election as well.

The protests were staged at important locations in Bengaluru, Ramanagara, Mandya, Mysuru, Chamarajanagara, Kolar, Chikkaballapura, Tumakuru, Ballari, Raichur, Chitradurga, Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Vijayapura, Bagalkote, Bidar, Belagavi, Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Dharwad, and Davangere among others.

Amid the coronavirus scare and ignoring social distancing norms, farmers hit the streets in groups, raised slogans, took out bike rallies, burnt tires in protest on the road, and staged a sit-in at various places.

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 labor organizations that are protesting amendments to certain labor laws during the brief assembly session that concluded on Saturday.

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Shirur: Shirur’s non-resident businessman and managing trustee of Green Valley National School, Manegar Meeran Saheb, who has made tremendous contributions towards the development and upliftment of his native has been chosen as the recipient of the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award for the year 2020.

For over four decades, Manegar Meeran Saheb has worked in Gulf nations and rendered service to uphold the Kannada language and his homeland by prioritizing and contributing to several organizations that were focusing on developing the Kannada language and Kannadiga people. He has contributed to the educational, social, cultural upliftment of the Kannadiga people, despite living abroad.

He has actively engaged and contributed to Kundapura Kannada Gulf Organization, Shirur Association, and several organizations in this regard. Apart from contributing to the organizations abroad, Meeran Saheb has also organized awareness drives and camps in various parts of Karnataka, while also helping hundreds of poor families in the state.

This is the first time that an individual from Shirur is set to be conferred the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, the trustee of Green Valley Institute has contributed enormously to the development of Shirur by providing services such as Ambulance, Garbage trucks to the city.