On March 12, over 15,000 farmers started from Nashik and walked around 180 kilometres and assembled in Mumbai
Geetanjali Minhas | March 13, 2018 | Mumbai
The Maharashtra government has offered a six-month long roadmap to address the agrarian crisis in the state after thousands of farmers staged a massive rally in Mumbai to protest government’s apathy towards them.
On March 12, over 15,000 farmers started from Nashik and walked around 180 kilometres and assembled in Mumbai.
Farmers had demanded complete and unconditional implementation of loan waiver scheme announced last year, implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, compensation for 35 lakh cotton farmers whose crops have been damaged due to pink bollworm infestation, unseasonal rains and hailstorms.
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis met 15 representatives from farmers’ community and assured them to implement the Forest Rights Act, 2006 with the promise to clear all pending appeals and claims within six months. He said the government had already distributed funds to banks for 4.62 million farmers for loan waivers with 3.55 million beneficiaries till date. Farmers who were not entitled to the loan waiver scheme of 2008 shall be brought under the ambit of the current Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana.
Fadnavis government said that it will pursue the implementation of Swaminathan Commission report with centre.
Ajit Navale, state general secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, said, “The government will have to meet our demands of loan waiver. We insisted on written assurance. We have also charted out plans and constituted committees which will work on each demand with representatives of the government,” he said.
General secretary of the Communist Party of India, Sitaram Yechury said that though the government has accepted most of the demands in principle, going by history they are apprehensive.
“Last time after farmers strike they had promised loan waiver of Rs 30,000Cr. As per the budget Rs 3,718 Cr was implemented. We don’t know if all of that has been done. We will wait and see. If they don’t implement their promises we will discuss and next time it will be much bigger movement not just confined to ‘kisans’. The results will be visible in elections,” he said.
“Governmentt is ruining farmers. These farmers are tribal and angry because the government has completely with impunity violated the Forest Rights Bill,” he said.
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