People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)




Silk Farmers Protest Duty-Free Silk Import


Vishwa Kundapura


UNDER the banner of All India Anti Duty-Free Silk Import Struggle Committee and Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha (KPRS), hundreds of silk farmers, reelers and other people connected with sericulture sector gheraoed the office of Kolar MP and union minister of state for railways, K H Muniyappa, at Kolar on March 24. The police stopped with great difficulty the protesters from entering his office.


The protesters who came in a procession from the silk cocoon market, raised slogans against the policies of the union government, which they said has allowed duty-free import of silk as well as reduced the excise duty on silk imports from 31 per cent to a mere 5 per cent.


Addressing the protesters, KPRS district president P R Suryanarayan said these policies are ruining the indigenous sericulture sector. “The centre has brought the changes only to protect the interests of a handful of silk industrialists,” he alleged.


Regretting that the centre has not responded positively to the number of agitations including a recent protest outside Central Silk Board in Bangalore, Suryanarayan warned about severe struggles in future.


The agitators criticised Mr Muniyappa for not taking interest in the cause of sericulture farmers of his constituency where sericulture is one of the major sources of livelihood.


They were also angry over the absence of any officials at the minister’s office to receive their memorandum. They later in a procession went to the deputy commissioner’s office where they submitted their memorandum.


Reelers’ Association president Sabir Pasha, Silk Farmers Welfare Association president Munisonnappa and KPRS district secretary T M Venkatesh also spoke. KPRS leaders Gangamma, T Krishne Gowda, P R Navinkumar and others were also present.


Sericulturist farmers and reelers stage a protest outside K H Muniyappa’s office in Kolar