Maharashtra farmers protest against agrarian distress
Mumbai : A protest march by 30,000 farmers against the failure of the BJP-led government to address agrarian distress entered Mumbai on Saturday.
The march, led by All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) -- a peasants front of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), was launched from Nashik on Tuesday.
The farmers will stage a protest outside the legislative assembly here on March 12, demanding fair remuneration and loan waiver.
These farmers will seek answer from the government for non- implementation of the demands that were promised by the government, said Ajit Nawale, state general secretary of AIKS.
"Farmers in the state are reeling under the ripples of agrarian distress and they are under huge financial burden. The government has not done anything to provide them any relief. So they are left with no option but to express their anguish through the protest march," Nawale told IANS.
The 180-km long foot march was started with participation of about 12,000 farmers and the number has reached to 30,000 now, which showed the intensity of discontent among farmers, Nawale said.
As a stream of people flowing in to join the march, the number of protesters will go up to 55,000- 60,000 figure when it will reach the destination, he added.
Complete loan waiver and profit of 1.5 times input cost for all major agriculture commodities are the major demands of the AIKS.
These farmers want immediate implementation of M.S. Swaminathan committee's recommendations, which ensures fair remuneration.
The agitating farmers are also demanding compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre for destruction of crops due to hailstorm and pink-worm, allocation of forest land under cultivation to farmers and implementation of Forest Rights Act.
While the organisers have said they would try to reach the assembly in peaceful manner, the government is likely to stop the protest march at Azad Maidan.
In June last year, similar protests had boiled over most parts of the state, forcing the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led government to announce a conditional Rs 34,000 crore loan waiver, which farmers said has not been implemented properly.
Similar demands of loan waiver and 50 per cent profit over the input cost have been made by farmers across the country, putting the BJP-led central government in a fix.
BJP is not just facing flak from the opposition but its estranged ally Shiv Sena has also extended its support to the protesting farmers.