Udupi, May 22, 2018: Bharatiya Kissan Sangha office-bearers have appealed to Udupi DC to waive the fee for depositing arms in the police stations during elections.
Kissan Sangha district president B V Poojary said, “During the elections, the district administration had directed the owners of arms to surrender it in police stations as a precautionary measure. Accordingly, more than 4000 farmers had deposited their guns. The district administration has issued an order to charge Rs 200 per month as a maintenance fee from the owners under Arms Act 2016. The new order has put the farmers in trouble. Every year, one or the other elections are announced we deposit our arms in the police station for atleast four to five months during the election. As a result, we have to pay somewhere between Rs 800 to Rs 1,000.”
He said on the one hand, farmers incur loss with the wild animals destroying crops in the absence of arms.
On the other hand, the district administration is collecting fee for depositing the arms. Instead, if the district administration initiates measures to protect the crops, then the farmers do not require arms.
The Kissan Sangha has appealed to the district administration to revoke the order on charging fee.
He said, “As 4000 farmers have deposited their arms, the district administration will collect a sum of around Rs 40 lakh from farmers. In the past, there was no provision for collecting fee for depositing arms. Amendment to Arms Act 2016 does not make it mandatory to collect fee. During summer, wild animals stray into villages in search of water and destroy crops. We appeal to the district administration to keep the arms with them and protect our crops.”
He also said the chances of farmers misusing the arms is negligible. Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis has promised to seek the opinion of experts on waiving off the fee. She also promised to check with deputy commissioners of other districts and check if there was any option to waive off the fee.