Mumbai: After walking for about 180 km in the soaring temperature, about 35,000 farmers and agricultural workers from entered the country's financial capital Mumbai on Sunday, demanded complete loan waiver and higher support prices for their crop among other things.
The march has been organised to protest the failures of the state BJP government on the farm front, including issues like farm loan waivers, remunerative prices for produce, non-implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission as well as the Forest Rights Act, he said.
Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan, who welcomed the march at Mulund in suburban Mumbai yesterday, said the government, which has met earlier demands by farmers, will consider their latest ones.
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The Mumbai Police are likely to stop the march near Azad Maidan opposite the Chhatrapati Shivajii Maharaj Terminus. "I am confident that the farmers can expect a positive outcome at tomorrow's meeting". The protests forced the state government to announce a Rs34,022 crore farm loan waiver scheme. Many farmers leaders said that it should not be considered as a communist protest as it is for the betterment of the farmers. The meeting with Fadnavis is reportedly scheduled at 11:30 am.
Tarabai Chaudhari, a 50-year-old farmer from Vani village in the Dindori taluka of the Nashik district, said: "We have been raising this demand for years, but nobody pays any heed to us". Ajit Nawale is just another farmer. Raj was supposed to address the farmers on Sunday evening, but his nephew and Sena youth leader Aaditya Thackeray outsmarted him and walked with the farmers at Vikhroli.
"We have set up a committee of ministers to hold discussions on their demands".
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"The agrarian crisis is very severe". The Shiv Sena, a partner in the state government but a bitter critic of the BJP, is openly supporting the morcha. He had led the farmers' strike previous year which led to the blocking of milk and vegetable supplies to the cities for few days.
The farmers troubled by fake promises by Maharashtra government are expected to stage "gherao" protest outside Maharashtra assembly in Mumbai on Monday. We are openly supporting the agitating farmers. We have extended our whole-hearted support to their agitation.
Importantly, the budget session of the state legislature is underway.
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