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Yatnal ends fast, to hold talks with Government

By Our Staff Correspondent

ALAMATTI (BIJAPUR DT.), FEB. 4. The Bijapur MP, Basanagouda R. Patil Yatnal, and over 130 farmers on Friday withdrew their fast following the Government's promise that it is ready to discuss and consider their demand with an open mind.

Their decision came after the Revenue Minister, M.P. Prakash, called on them here this evening. Mr. Yatnal; the former MLA S.K. Bellubbi; and the farmers' leader Panchappa Kalburgi, who spoke on behalf of the agitators, said their major demand is that water allocation to Mulwad and Chimmalagi lift irrigation schemes be restored as per the original plan.

While the Mulwad scheme was earlier allocated 56.1 tmcft of water, the Chimmalagi scheme was given 25 tmcft. But as per the revised plan, their allocations were reduced to 36 tmcft and 20 tmcft respectively, and farmers demanded that the earlier allocation be restored.

Mr. Prakash said the Government had announced in the legislature that many of the demands of farmers, including filling of tanks and expediting irrigation projects in Bijapur and Bagalkot districts, would be considered.

However, to discuss the demand with regard to water allocation, the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, has called a meeting on February 16, and the Government is ready to advance it if the farmers want. The issue can be discussed in detail, he added.

The agitators said February 9 or 10 will be convenient dates for them. Mr. Prakash said the meeting will be advanced after consulting Mr. Dharam Singh and requested the farmers to end their fast. He requested postponement of the proposed meeting to be held under the leadership of Gadag Tontadarya Swamiji on Saturday.

Later, he offered fruit juice to the farmers who were on fast. Mr. Prakash was to arrive at 3 p.m., but his programme was delayed. The Minister for Animal Husbandry, Mirajuddin Patel, and the MLAs Shivanand Patil, C.S. Nadagouda and R.K. Rathod accompanied Mr. Prakash.

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