50,000 Maharashtra Farmers Protest March to Azad Maidan

Published on 12 Mar 2018 by Shivi

Maharashtra Farmers Protest March

Image Credit: Scroll.in

More than 50,000 farmers and tribals in Maharashtra marched to Mumbai from Nashik on Monday morning. In their 180-km protest march, the farmers marched for 3 days to reach Azad Maidan, with the intention to surround Mantralaya. 

The protest started due to farmers’ angst due to the Maharashtra government’s breach of promises made to the farmers. The march saw participants from all age groups, with young and old farmers, men, women and children participating even barefoot. The protest march has been dubbed as the ‘Long March of Farmers’ supported by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS). 

In 2017, the Maharashtra government has made an announcement about waiving Rs. 40 billion of loans under the first stage of its Farm Loan Waiver Scheme. The farmers have accused the state government of breaching its promises and are now demanding a complete waiver of loans and electricity bills, implementation of the Forest Rights Act that will benefit the scheduled tribes, and remunerative prices for their crops. 

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting, which led to the decision of appointing a 6-members committee to look into the farmers’ demands. According to some source, the government is ready to accept 70-80% of the demands made by the farmers.

The 6-member committee will comprise of Maharashtra Minister Chandrakant Patil, Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar, Irrigation Minister Girish Mahajan, Tribal Development Minister Vishnu Savara, state cooperatives minister Subhash Deshmukh and Shiv Sena leader and PWD Minister Eknath Shinde.

The Shiv Sena has stated that they support the farmers’ protest and vouch that they will halt the State Assembly’s functions on Monday until the farmers' demands are met. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) also supported the protest and stated that there was a need to change the agrarian policy and the government has to ensure that farmers get a proper price for their produce.

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