Farmers and farmer leaders have intensified the agitation on Wednesday for seeking Rs 6,000 per quintal as minimum guarantee price for raw cotton in all over Vidarbha region. The agitating farmers resorted to blocking roads and raising voice against -- to what they term as the government’s apathy to agrarian crisis.
According to reports, violence continued in Amravati on the issue for the third day after Shiv Sena activists, led by the former Lok Sabha member, Anant Gudhe, damaged the state cotton cooperative marketing federation office at Rampuri camp area and set afire all the furniture of the office in protest against the meager rate of Rs 3,300 per quintal, announced by the government.
The agitated Sena activists also set afire two vehicles of state health department and set ablaze a state run bus near Badnera this morning. The district police arrested 20 Sena workers, including Gudhe and the district chief, Balasaheb Bhagwat in this connection.
On the other hand, the Independent legislator, Ravi Rana’s indefinite hunger strike entered third day on Wednesday. Rana was detained by the police on Monday and now in central jail at Amravati. Several farmers and leaders of different organizations who turned up at the jail to meet Rana on Wednesday were denied permission to meet him by the jail authorities.
Among the activists who were denied to meet Rana at the central jail include: Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti convenor Kishore Tiwari and former Maharashtra minister Sunil Deshmukh. Rana has staged an indefinite hunger strike from behind the bars for the cause of cotton farmers.
Rana’s Yuva Swabhimani Sanghatana, Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti and several other organizations also blocked roads and damaged public property at many places in Vidarbha in protest against the jail authorities “undemocratic” attitude.
The vehicular traffic on Mumbai-Kolkata National Highway 6 was paralysed at Tiwasa in Amravati when the farmers resorted to a "rasta roko" agitation on Wednesday afternoon in support of fair price of raw cotton.
The agitators even took out a huge farmers’ rally on the highway on the issue which was addressed by Tiwari and other farmers’ leaders. The farmers vowed not to sell raw cotton until the government hikes the guarantee price.
According to reports reaching here this evening, farmers have resorted to “rasta roko” agitations in several areas in the region, including Yavatmal, Wardha, Buldhana, Akola, Washim and Saoner (Nagpur).
“The agitation was peaceful in Nagpur rural areas,” said Manoj Shukla, the superintendent of police (SP), Nagpur rural.
Meanwhile, another farmer Umesh Shyamrao Bhoyar (32) of Amla village in Wardha district ended his life by swallowing pesticide due to crop failure and not getting fair price for raw cotton. Around 16-acre land-holder Bhoyar borrowed Rs one-lakh from the District Central Cooperative Bank and could not repay it because of crop failure. A frustrated Bhoyar consumed pesticide this morning and ended his life.
With Bhoyar’s death, the farmers’ death toll has risen to 22 this month while the figure is 672 since January this year.