Farmers' march to reach Mumbai on Monday

12 March, 2018, 09:24 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Maharashtra farmers protest against agrarian distress

Fundkar added that he will decide how to handle the protest, and approach the farmers after discussions with the chief minister. If they try any tricks on us, we will start a hunger strike here at Azad Maidan. He had led the farmers' strike past year which led to the blocking of milk and vegetable supplies to the cities for few days. However, the Mumbai Police has announced that there will be no road closure or diversion on account of the Long Morcha.

Modi, who had promised to double farmers' income over five years, remains a popular leader almost four years into his term.

In a bid to resolve the crisis, the state government reached out to farmers, promising to meet their demands, but farmers' leaders said they will press on with their protest at the Vidhan Bhavan (Legislature Complex).

In June previous 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.

The protestors walked 180 kilometres (112 miles) from Nashik to Mumbai over the course of a few days and plan to stage a sit-in protest outside the state legislative assembly building, where the annual budget session is underway. The marchers reached Shahapur, the largest taluka in Thane district around 7 p.m. on Thursday before resuming their march on Friday morning to reach Vasind by noon - where a team of farmers that was moving ahead ensured that lunch was ready for everyone.

The group, which includes children, women and elderly, says the government has not implemented the loan waivers it promised previous year.




On Monday, the march will be addressed by AIKS national president Ashok Dawale, CPI (M) MLA JP Gavit, state president Kisan Gujar and working president Arjun Ade among others. So far, banks have been permitted to grant loan waiver to 46.34 lakh farm loan accounts, amounting to ₹23,102 crore.

Senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar also assured that the chief minister will meet the protestors' delegation, and blamed the "apathetic" approach of past governments for the farmers' woes.

"Even when the pink bollworm destroyed my cotton crop, government officials came and conducted a panchnama, but ultimately the revenue circle that my village belongs to was excluded from the villages where farmers were given compensation".

"A delegation would be permitted to meet the Chief Minister, but we can not allow them to march till Vidhan Bhavan".

State agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar said the marching farmers hadn't reached out to the government.

"The government should give us ownership of land because it's our right as tribal people", he said.

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