The Hindustan Times in its article Belagavi farmers ask MLAs to stay with them during winter session tries to focus on the plight of the drought-affected farmers. In the midst of a severe drought affecting the entire state of Karnataka, various farmers’ associations have urged legislators to reside in the homes of farmers in the Belagavi district during the upcoming 10-day winter session, scheduled to begin on December 4. This initiative aims to provide legislators with a firsthand understanding of the challenges faced by the farming community and also reduce the cost of their stay.
Farmers’ organizations, united under the banners of Karnataka Rajya Rait Sangh and North Karnataka Sugarcane Growers’ Association in Belagavi, jointly urged both assembly and council members to consider staying at the residences of farmers during the session. Siddagouda Modagi, the convenor of the North Karnataka Sugarcane Growers’ Association, told HT that this move would help legislators gain a deeper insight into the issues faced by farmers.
However, some legislators view this proposal as an affront, arguing that they are already familiar with the challenges faced by farmers and do not need to stay at their houses to understand them. “We already know the problems being faced by the farmers, and there is no need for us to stay at their houses to gain the same knowledge,” opined a legislator from Dharwad, seeking anonymity.
RTI activist Bhimappa Gadad highlighted the significant expenditure associated with lodging for legislators during sessions. He revealed that, on average, the government spent ₹10 lakh on the stay of legislators during the last session, with them staying in lodges, ministers in luxury hotels, and department heads in resorts.
Gadad, who has been tracking the expenses since the first assembly session in 2006, pointed out that elected representatives receive ₹5,000 per day as a travel allowance, in addition to other benefits.