Farmers reach Mumbai to fulfil their demands

15 March, 2018, 06:05 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Protesting farmers reach Mumbai, traffic woes loom

Farmers had demanded complete and unconditional implementation of loan waiver scheme announced a year ago, implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, compensation for 35 lakh cotton farmers whose crops have been damaged due to pink bollworm infestation, unseasonal rains and hailstorms.

The gruelling six-day march of almost 200 km from Nashik to Mumbai by thousands of farmers, with the aim to gherao the Maharashtra Assembly and sensitise the government to their problems, was remarkable. The efficacy of loan waivers in alleviating farm distress is limited at best.

Like their counterparts around the world, farmers in the Indian state of Maharashtra face low crop prices and heavy debt burdens, and a precarious livelihood. Farmers who were not entitled to the loan waiver scheme of 2008 shall be brought under the ambit of the current Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana.

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AFTER Mumbai, the farmers from across the country hit the streets of the national capital on Tuesday to demand absolute implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations, loan waivers to them as promised by the Government and the Minimum Support Price for their agri-produce. We insisted on written assurance. By evening, "deeply humbled" by the farmers' reasonable approach, Mr. Fadnavis said he respected them and had no problem in accepting most of their demands, leading the farmers to end the stir and board special trains to go back home.

In the afternoon, they were escorted by the police to meet Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu to submit a memorandum of their demands. As per the budget Rs 3,718 Cr was implemented. We will wait and see. "The results will be visible in elections", he said.

The Congress on Monday alleged that farmer suicides have increased by 41.7 per cent since the formation of the Modi government in May 2014 and accused it of shedding "false tears" for them while benefiting the middlemen. A huge part of this decline, according to protesters, is because they need their land.



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