Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Farmers to protest outside Maharashtra Assembly on Monday

Protesting farmers The farmers marching | All India Kisan Sabha's website
Charlie Simmons | 12 March, 2018, 09:21

"My feet are blistered, but I will walk to Vidhan Bhawan and force the government to accept our demands", said Gave, a farmer from Dindori, Nashik, who is part of the march organized by the CPI-M's Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha.

Mumbai: With thousands of farmers threatening to converge outside the State Assembly on Monday, the Devendra Fadnavis government, which had disregarded the protest march when it began in Nashik on March 6, has changed gears and reached out to the agitators.

About 30,000 farmers in India's western state of Maharashtra are now on a protest march to demand loan waiver, implementation of government commissions report on farmers and compensation for crop damage.

It was wrong to say that farmers were demanding loan waiver, as they are not criminals that they should need a "waiver", Aditya said, adding "farmers are fighting for "freedom from debt". "I am confident that the farmers can expect a positive outcome at tomorrow's meeting". The BJP-led government had also rolled out a loan-waiver package costing Rs 34,200-crore to the exchequer.

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Fadnavis said the government was not a mere silent observer but had made proper arrangement for traffic movement and also deployed medical vans on the route of march. Medical education minister Girish Mahajan said, "We had first requested the farmers to end their march at Chunabhatti grounds and a delegation could come and meet the CM in Vidhan Bhavan". Ajit Nawale is just another farmer. His usual soybean produce of 12 quintals a season plunged to two quintals due to delayed rainfall; more than 50 per cent of his cotton crop was ravaged by the pink bollworm, and the one possibility of solace that he had in the form of a farm loan waiver did not materialise. The agitating farmers have been walking virtually barefoot for the past seven days.

"We will not call off our agitation till we get written assurances from the Chief Minister that the committed to settle all our demands", Nawale said. He had led the farmers' strike a year ago which led to the blocking of milk and vegetable supplies to the cities for few days.

"Agrarian distress is linked to malnutrition".

Except the ruling BJP, all other major political parties - Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena, RPI, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh and MNS - have lent their support to the protest. "My father Uddhavsaheb has sent specially to meet and extend my party's support to you. My party leaders like State party unit president Sunil Tatkare and leader of the Opposition in the State Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde will participate in the long-march".

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