35,000 Maharashtra farmers end protest after Government accepts all demands

35,000 Maharashtra farmers end protest after Government accepts all demands

35,000 Maharashtra farmers end protest after Government accepts all demands

Most of the demands that the more than 35,000 farmers of Maharashtra had been raising during their six days long 200 km march to Mumbai were conceded to by the state government resulting the in the farmers calling off the protests.

Waiver of loans and the right to forest land were the most important of the demands. The huge gathering of farmers carrying red flags gathered at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan where the decision of the state government was announced by Maharashtra State Ministers accompanied by farmer leaders. Withdrawal of the protests was later announced by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS).

All demands of the farmers are being accepted, announced Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil while addressing the farmers at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai. Also present at the meeting was Communist Party of India (CPI(M)) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Patil said: “After the government accepted our demands in writing and assured to implement them in a time-bound manner, I asked the farmers to go back to their homes.”

“We held very cordial discussions and have conceded most of the demands of the tribals, laborers, and farmers who took part in the march,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced there.

The primary demands of the farmers included completion of implementation of the loan waiver scheme that was announced by the government last year, implementing the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and compensating farmers impacted by damaged cotton crops because of the bollworm infestation and the unseasonal rains.

The Maharashtra state government has promised six months for the clearing of all pending claims/appeals related to implementation of the Forest Rights Act. The loan waivers had been distributed to 3.55 million farmers while funds for the same for 4.62 million farmers had already been distributed by the state government, it said.

35,000 Maharashtra farmers end protest after Government accepts all demands

35,000 Maharashtra farmers end protest after Government accepts all demands

 

List of Maharashtra Farmers’ Demands

1 Implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations
2 Completion of loan waiver program
3 Free electricity
4 Grants for irrigation
5 Compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre for crops destroyed due to hailstorm and pink-worm
6 Allocation of forest land under cultivation to farmers and implementation of Forest Rights Act

The farmers’ protest in Maharashtra and the massive rally held in Mumbai by them, farmers in Odisha followed the same path with almost similar demands.

Farmers, about 15,000 in number, participated in a protest rally that began from Bhubaneshwar’s Master Canteen and ended at Lower PMG. They also protested near the state assembly.

Similar to the demands for creating a Pension fund for farmers put forward by the protesters in Maharashtra, the farmers in Odisha too have raised a similar demand of Rs 5000 as pension for the poor farmers in the state.

And similar to the demand for a Minimum Support Price (MSP)  for their produce, protesting farmers in Odisha too demanded the same from the Odisha state government. Additionally, Odisha farmers demanded the MSP of paddy to be increased from the current Rs 1550 now per quintal to Rs 3000 per quintal.

The demands and the style of protest of the farmers both in Maharashtra and in Odisha are very similar which reflect common problems for farmers irrespective of the state and the political party at the helm of affairs.

Governments seem to turn a blind eye to the plight of farmers and that they are committing suicide because of burdens of debt following the failure of crops, said Akshaya Kumar the National Coordinator of the NKS.

“We urge the state government to accept the truth and waive farm loan to help them,” he added.

 

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