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Maharashtra farmers begin indefinite strike: With over 5 lakh striking, supply of agricultural produce to suffer

Mumbai: Minor incidents of violence marred the start of an unprecedented 'indefinite strike' by over half a million Maharashtra farmers in support of various demands including the long-pending loan waiver package, in Mumbaiu on Thursday.

Striking farmers, who had warned they would not indulge in any farming activity, including sowing for the upcoming kharif season, resorted to the agitation after talks with the Maharashtra government failed on Tuesday.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Stray incidents of violence were reported from some parts including Nashik, Satara and Pune where aggressive farmers emptied tankers of several tonnes of fresh milk being transported to the cities and destroyed stocks of fresh vegetables being taken to the markets.

In another incident near Satara, the driver of a milk tanker was roughed up by some farmers and prevented from proceeding to his destination. Stones were also pelted at some police vehicles near Nashik.

The strike has elicited "good response" from farmers all over the state, except from agriculturists in the coastal Konkan, who are not part of the agitation.

Movement of agricultural goods has been restricted since midnight.

Most Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) plazas wore a desolate look as farmers, traders, head-loaders, transporters and other officials virtually kept off.

The APMC traders told the Times of India that the supply of perishable items like milk, vegetables and fruits will get affected, if the strike continuous for more than two-three days.

The strike has garnered support from more than 2000 villages and political parties like Swabhimani Sangathana and Shiv Sena have also stood behind the protest, the Times of India reported.

On Tuesday, representatives of the Kisan Kranti Morcha (KMM), a state-level coordination committee of various farmers organisations, had a meeting met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, but failed to get any concrete commitments.

The farmers' demands include complete waiver of farm loans, free electricity, appropriate remunerative prices for their produce, grant for irrigation and higher price for milk and implementation of the MS Swaminathan Committee recommendations.

With inputs from IANS

Updated Date: Jun 01, 2017 10:45 AM

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