Over 20,000 Maharashtra farmers begin protest march from Thane to Mumbai; demands include drought compensation, loan waiver
The farmers protest is being led by the Lok Sangharsh Morcha (LSM). Swaraj Abhiyan chief and former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav and conservationist Dr Rajendra Singh will also be at the forefront of the protests
Over 20,000 farmers and tribals across Maharashtra will march from Thane to Azad Maidan in Mumbai on Wednesday and Thursday. Their protest is related to their demand for compensation for the drought in the region, a complete waiver on farm loans and transfer of forest rights to the tribal community.
The Lok Sangharsh Morcha (LSM) is leading the protest. Swaraj Abhiyan chief and former Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav and conservationist Dr Rajendra Singh will also be at the forefront of the protests, NDTV reported.
According to reports, the major issues that they will raise include the implementation of the Swaminathan Committee Report, settlement of the pending claims under the Forest Rights Act, setting up of a judicial system to ensure that farmers get adequate minimum support price, complete farm loan waiver and drought compensation.
"We have been consistently asking the state government to fulfil our long-standing demands, but the response has been lukewarm. We are forced to agitate," Pratibha Shinde, LSM general secretary was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times. "We are taking maximum care to ensure that the citizens of Mumbai are will not be inconvenienced."
Wednesday's rally is a follow up to a similar protest held in March outside Mumbai's Legislative Assembly. Even then, they had demanded fair remuneration and a loan waiver. The farmers had also demanded compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre for the crops destroyed by hail and pink bollworm, allocation of forest land under cultivation to farmers and implementation of Forest Rights Act.
Over 30,000 farmers had walked 180 kilometres from Nashik to Mumbai, taking over six days to reach the Maharashtra capital.
The agitation was called off after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state had accepted "almost all" of their demands in writing and assured them they will implement them in a time-bound manner. The farmers, however, said the government has not met any of their demands yet.
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