Around 25,000 Maharashtra farmers join 'long march' from Nashik to Mumbai to seek complete loan waiver

Nashik: Nearly 25,000 farmers on Wednesday continued their "long march" from Nashik to Mumbai to press for their various demands, including a complete loan waiver.

The farmers, who began the 180-km-long march on Tuesday evening from the CBS chowk in central Nashik, took a night halt and resumed their journey on Wednesday on the Mumbai-Agra National Highway.

They plan to 'gherao' the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha after reaching Mumbai on 12 March for resolution of their issues, said Sunil Malusare of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), which has organised the march.

File image of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Reuters

File image of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Reuters

The farmers have been demanding a complete waiver of loans and electricity bills, and the implementation of recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.

"We also want the state government to refrain from forceful acquisition of farm lands in the name of development projects like the super highway and the bullet train," AIKS secretary Raju Desle earlier said.

He accused the Centre and the state government of adopting "anti-farmer" policies.

Notably, the government had announced the loan waiver in 2017 following unprecedented protests by farmers in various parts of the state.

Desle claimed that as many as 1,753 farmers have killed themselves since June, 2017 when the BJP-led state government announced a conditional farm loan waiver of Rs 34,000 crore.

AIKS national president Ashok Dhavle, local MLA JP Gavit and other leaders were leading the long march.

Dhavle earlier alleged that the BJP government had betrayed the farmers by not honouring the assurances given to them.

"We will demand a complete change in the river linking scheme proposed to be implemented in Nashik, Thane and Palghar, so as to ensure that tribal villages are not submerged and water is made available to these districts and other drought-prone areas," he said.

Farmers are also demanding the transfer of forest land to those who have been tilling it for years and an increase in the compensation for peasants whose crops were damaged in the recent hailstorms and pink bollworm infestation.

Published Date: Mar 07, 2018 15:30 PM | Updated Date: Mar 07, 2018 15:30 PM

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