Maharashtra farmers begin protest march from Nashik; will raise loan waiver, other demands in Mumbai on 27 Feb

Over 50,000 farmers from across 23 districts of Maharashtra are expected to gather outside the Maharashtra Assembly in Mumbai on 27 February, to remind the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government of its promise to fulfil their demands following a protest march in March 2018.

Farmers began their protest march from Nashik on Wednesday and will reach Mumbai on 27 February in order to press for demands, including loan waiver and minimum support price. According to PTI, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) announced that 50,000 farmers from 23 districts will take part in the march. After covering a distance of around 180 kilometres on foot in a span of eight days, the farmers will gather outside the Maharashtra Assembly in Mumbai, which will be in session.

Maharashtra farmers begin protest march from Nashik; will raise loan waiver, other demands in Mumbai on 27 Feb

Representational image. Shrirang Swarge

In Mumbai, the farmers will raise long-standing demands like loan waiver, minimum support price, provision of pension for farmers, revision of the river linking agreement to ensure that water is not diverted to Gujarat, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations and transfer of forest land to tribals.

AIKS held a similar protest march less than a year ago, in which over 30,000 farmers walked for six days to reach Mumbai on 11 March. The protest ended when the government gave in writing that the farmers’ demands would be met in three months.

"A year has passed, but the state government has not fulfilled promises. Hence, the long march would be taken out against the betrayal of farmers by the BJP-led state and Central governments," the AIKS said in a statement on Tuesday.

AIKS’ state secretary Ajit Dhawale told Hindustan Times, “We have no option but to agitate and secure our rights. It is better than committing suicide. Farmers are currently in bad shape, especially due to the drought.”

A report in The Indian Express also claimed that Nashik police has denied permission to AIKS for the march. Leaders from the farmers’ body said that they will go ahead with the march nevertheless. Dhawale said that not a single untoward incident was reported when farmers staged a similar protest in March last year.

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Updated Date: Feb 20, 2019 21:29:01 IST

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