Opposition forces government to withdraw bill in legislative council

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BANGALORE: After succeeding in forcing the government to refer the Panchayat Raj amendment act bill to joint committee of the legislature, the stronger BJP in terms of numbers, on Wednesday made Siddaramaiah government to withdraw Karnataka Agriculture Produce Marketing (Regulation and Development)(second amendment) bill, 2013 in the legislative council.

In the 75-member House, the BJP has 39-members, Congress has 17 and JD(S) 12 member strength in the Upper House.
Amid a walkout by the JD(S) and BJP, the legislative assembly passed the controversial bill and sent to council for approval. While council secretary laid the bill, the combined opposition did not allow agriculture produce marketing minister Shamanoor Shivashankarappa to explain the contents of the bill.

The bill provides exemption from payment of market fee on fruits and vegetables. Opposition members maintain that the move would only benefit traders and not farmers. They called for a wider debate. Some also pressed for constitution of a joint select committee of the House to study the issues indepth.

Piloting the Bill, horticulture minister Shamnur Shivashankarappa in assembly said the legislation was necessary to carry out reforms in agriculture marketing sector. “We anticipate a revenue loss of about Rs 7 crore once the bill is introduced but it will greatly help the farmers,” he added

Before the bill was passed to council, the BJP had done its home work. The party directed all its MLCs to be present in the House post-lunch session. Opposition chief whip Shivayogiswamy personally telephoned party members to must present in the House to defeat the bill.

Maintaining that bill facilitates the middle-men to rule APMC and was against the interest of farmers, opposition leader D V Sadanananda Gowda said that the government should not take risk by presenting the bill for approval.
Sensing that combined opposition would defeat, the government decided to withdraw the bill.

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